There's lots of argument about the right size of the F-22 force, but no dispute over where the final number - 187 - came from. Four jets were added last year in the course of a compromise in the last days of the Bush administration. Before that, 183 jets was the number in Program Budget Decision (PBD) 753, issued in late 2004.
As far as USAF fighters went, the main idea of PBD 753 was to reduce the overlap between production of the F-22 and of the Joint Strike Fighter. But at that time the JSF was still in the throes of a redesign to reduce weight, and the only published schedule was the one that the program had started with, in late 2001.
This would be the status of the JSF program today if that schedule had been met:
I think it's safe to say that the "naysayers" would be quieter about the risks inherent in closing down the F-22 if that were really the case.
- The definitive CTOL design has been flying for more than three years.
- The STOVL version has been flying for about three years.
- Block 1 flight test was finished earlier this year and a three-month operational assessment has just been completed.
- Block 2 flight test started seven months ago with four aircraft of each variant.
- About 50 LRIP aircraft have been delivered in all.
- Ten LRIP 1 F-35s were delivered in 2008.
- 22 LRIP 2 deliveries were completed in the first quarter of 2009.
- Deliveries of 54 LRIP 3 aircraft should be completed in the first quarter of 2010.