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AF Promises 380 Raptor Buy

U.S. Air Force Gen. Bruce Carlson, chief of Air Force Materiel Command, told a group of reporters Wednesday that the Air Force will figure out a way to buy 380 F-22s, despite the fact that the Pentagon -- through the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) -- has capped the number of Raptors to be procured at 183.

"We think that [183] is the wrong number," Carlson said. Even 380, a number he joked is a "compromise" from the 381 the Air Force originally asked for, still leaves too much room for risk. That risk could even include a future conflict with China, he said. "Most people say in the future there will be a Chinese element to whatever we do," he added.

"We're committed to funding 380," Carlson said Feb. 13 after speaking at Aviation Week's Defense Technology and Requirements conference in Washington. "We're building a program right now to do that. It's going to be incredibly difficult on the Air Force, but we've done this before." He added there are only three places from which to draw funds to accomplish the Air Force's goal: operations and maintenance, research and development and procurement. "We don't have a [money] printing machine," he said. "We have to pay for it."

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-- Christian

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