Sunday, November 23, 2008

On the Chopping Block

The F-22 Raptor may get canned.
On Wednesday, John Young, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, signed off on $50 million as "bridge" funds to build four additional F-22s.

That will be enough to purchase key parts to keep the production line operating until the new administration under Barack Obama can review the defense budget and decide whether to include F-22 funding in the 2010 budget.

For the record, the Air Force has said it needs 381 of these awesome war birds.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Deputy Secretary Gordon England remain unconvinced, saying the Pentagon should ramp up procurement for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter rather than buying more F-22s.

That kind of either/or scenario could best be described as penny-wise but pound-foolish. The United States needs both.
Given that the DoD of the current administration is less than enthusiastic about the Raptor, I doubt that the coming Obamastration(tm) will change this course.

Here's more on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
JSF is a joint, multinational acquisition program for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and eight cooperative international partners. Expected to be the largest military aircraft procurement ever, the stealth, supersonic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied defense forces worldwide. The program’s hallmark is affordability achieved through a high degree of aircraft commonality among three variants: conventional takeoff/landing (CTOL), carrier variant (CV) and short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft. Innovative concepts and advanced technologies will significantly reduce weapon system life-cycle costs while meeting the strike weapon system requirements of military customers. Procurement is planned to continue through 2026 and possibly beyond. JSF aircraft may well stay in service until 2060 or longer.
Yeah, like the first article stated, it shouldn't have to be an "either/or" choice, and it wouldn't have to be - if we hadn't pissed away so much money on other...endeavors.

Hat-tip: Don

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