Jeff Babione, the vice president of Lockheed Martin's F-22 program, told ABC News last year there was another place the F-22 could find a mission: quick strike attacks in hard-to-penetrate places like North Korea or Iran.
Just last week it was revealed that multiple F-22s had been deployed to an allied base in the United Arab Emirates just a short hop over the Persian Gulf from mainland Iran, but the Air Force insisted it was a regularly scheduled deployment and was not meant to be a threat to Iran.
Babione also said that he hoped the planes would never need to go to war and believes they are so advanced, they could function as a deterrent to potential foes without ever leaving the tarmac.
"The best weapon is the one that's never used," Babione said.
At the F-22 delivery ceremony in Georgia Wednesday, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the F-22 will play a "starring role" in the U.S. military's future for its "ability to reach out and strike any target on Earth, along with other unique air power effects, imparts a sense of vulnerability to potential adversaries and would-be aggressors."
Regardless of how the planes are eventually used, government spending on them is far from over. The Air Force says the planes, which currently conduct training and homeland security missions, cost $49,000 an hour to operate and a recent report from the Government Accountability Office says that the Pentagon plans to spend another $9.7 billion on upgrades to the planes that the manufacturer and the military had never planned on needing.