RAPTOR DOWN

raptor_shadow.jpgThings just went from bad to wose for the controversial F/A-22 jet. One of the stealth fighters has crashed in the Nevada desert, says the Las Vegas Review Journal. The pilot is okay. But no one's sure, yet, why the jet exploded during takeoff at Nellis Air Force Base.With defense budgets starting to tighten, no project is feeling the squeeze more than the controversial, $40 billion F/A-22 jet. Initially designed back in the 80's to tangle with Soviet MiGs, the so-called "Raptor" has been left without a mission, critics charge. And that $40 billion price tag could double before the full order of 277 planes is complete.What happens to the Raptor now? It's unclear. But, for the moment, the seven other F/A-22s stationed at Nellis Air Force Base are grounded, pending inspection.

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