Dogfight Over C-17s and Raptors

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The top two U.S Air Force leaders lobbied Capitol Hill for their service Oct. 24, suggesting lawmakers help extend the F-22 Raptor production line with 20 more of the Lockheed Martin fighters than currently budgeted.

Seeking to bolster the Air Force as lawmakers hammer out fiscal 2008 defense legislation and the Bush administration mulls its FY '09 request, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, further indicated their desire for more Boeing C-17s, retirement of Lockheed C-5As and for the service's ability to take over the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program from the Army.

Wynne and Moseley told the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) that they do not want any ongoing production lines to close, and in fact they hope to increase the number of F-22s until the Lockheed-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is well into production. They acknowledged their proposal was deemed unfeasible by the Office of Secretary of Defense, which apparently said it could "break the bank."

Alluding to concerns with slower rollout of the two fighters under current plans, Wynne noted that Air Combat Command's requirement for 381 F-22s is unchanged despite plans for only 183 now. Meanwhile, requirements for 1,763 JSFs would be met only incrementally until 2025.

Read the rest of this Aviation Week story HERE.

-- Christian

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