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Op-ed: Restart The F-22 Production Line

September 13, 2016

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One of the first items of business that Ronald Reagan took care of upon coming into office after the disastrous Jimmy Carter presidency was to restart the production line for the cancelled B-1 bomber.  Carter, in his channeling of the Obama appeasement to come, ended the future for the new long-range supersonic bomber in a guilt-ridden, blame America, give away the Panama Canal type fit of Leftist group think.  I’m sure Carter’s decision gave cause for a raucous party at the Kremlin, with enough vodka to go around that even the janitors had a good time that evening.

Reagan restored the aircraft to full production and 100 of the B-1B were built.  While it may have not been the right decision from a technological standpoint as the aircraft was almost obsolete as a nuclear penetrator because stealth technology was coming online rapidly, the decision was spot-on as a marker laid down to the world that the United States military was back militarily and quite serious about maintaining its edge in warfighting capability.  It got the world’s and the Soviet’s attention, and quite likely started the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union.

Today, unfortunately, the United States military finds itself in a very similar situation to the end of the Carter presidency.  Our armed forces are smaller than ever before in recent memory.  Our equipment is rotting and used up.  Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen are wiped out from deployment after deployment.  They are burnt out and quitting in droves.  The Marine Corp said recently only ninety aircraft are combat ready and they are riffling through museums for parts.

China is threatening freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Russia is running unchecked in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Iran is threatening Israel, and North Korea is threatening to fire an ICBM at the American west coast.  Restarting the F-22 production line would send the same message to the world that Reagan sent with the B-1 -America is back!

Yes, some of the technology is becoming obsolete.  However, it is off the shelf technology and a line that can be restarted quickly.  Heck, the USAF is refitting F-15s right now–talk about old technology!  Our Marxist President Obama stopped the F-22 at about 200 aircraft instead of the 700+ the Air Force said it needed.  Bringing additional units of the best fighter in the world online quickly would give our military a psychological boost and our enemies an experience in depression.  It would be one of the quickest things our new president could do to show he is serious about rebuilding American power projection capability fast!

In comparison to the F-35 which some analysts say will never be combat ready, the F-22 actually works.  Recently in Syria, two F-22s trailed a Syrian, Russian-built, fighter bomber at 2,000 feet and the Syrian pilot never knew they were there.

Restarting the F-22 production line is a fast, effective way to rebuild American power.  Future President Trump should seriously consider it.


L. Todd Wood, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. The first of his many thrillers is “Currency.” Todd is a contributor to The Washington Times, Fox Business, Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge and others, and he is a foreign correspondent for Newsmax TV. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visit