- F-22s currently in service: 141
- F-22s still to be built: 46
- F-22 unit cost: $137,500,000
- F-22 combat missions flown (ever): 0
- F-22 hourly flying cost: $49,808
- mean time between critical failures during F-22 flight: 1.7 hours
- maintenance time required for one hour of F-22 flight: 30 hours
- F-22 fleet mission availability: 55.9%
But you're not accounting for China!, say the F-22's proponents. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), whose state, incidentally, will lose 2,000 jobs when the production line closes down, finds this really worrying: "While the administration is emphasizing winning current conflicts, its stance regarding the F-22 does not adequately account for other kinds of threats." Lockheed recognizes that this pitch has broad appeal on the Hill, pulling in supporters on the right (even some who don't have F-22 production facilities in their states/districts!): "The best weapon may be the one that isn't used but instead deters a conflict before it begins." And you know, that's a great pitch -- the question is whether F-22s are necessary or even useful for deterring future adversaries.
For one thing, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen tell us that halting production at the current level will still give us 2:1 overmatch on advanced Chinese fighter aircraft in 2020 (and the Chinese planes will be inferior, at that). But never mind the question of how well the Raptor will fare against MIGs in some fantasy dogfight that will only take place on computer monitors or the skies above Miramar. If your understanding of Chinese military capabilities is any more advanced than Tom Tancredo's, then you probably realize that they've been developing anti-access weapons and tactics for the specific purpose of countering U.S. force projection (to include things like short-range fighter aircraft; see "Assassin's Mace" in Krepinevich's recent Foreign Affairs article).
In short, there is simply no compelling operational or strategic reason to build more F-22s than the 187 for which we have already budgeted. Which is why it's great to see the SecDef, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Chairman and ranking member of Senate Armed Services line up in opposition to the seven extra planes (and 175 billion extra dollars), and why it's great to see the President threatening a veto of the defense appropriation if the extra money makes it into the final bill.