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TacAir Budget Intel: F-22 Buy 40 or Less

Some predictions on Tac Air. This is all still in the rumor, grey-smoke stage but the information has specificity and strong sourcing.

Word is that PR 9, the latest version of the budget from the White House, would keep the F-22 production line going for one more year and would fund at least 20 planes, and perhaps as many as 40 more aircraft.

The F-35 is likely to get trimmed for 2010 from the previously expected levels but boosted significantly starting in the next year, 2011, and that increase would continue through the POM.

This info would seem in line with persistent rumors that Gates and co. will salami slice the F-22 buy, largely because they know that Congress will fund it, desperate to keep those jobs going. The F-35 trim is apparently the tactical trade-off for continuing the F-22 production. The strong out-year funding would be proof that the Pentagon remains strongly committed to the F-35, a signal that allies will peer at as closely as an anthropologist watches a rare ceremony celebrating, say, fertility.

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