A USAF F-22 Raptor and an Air Force F-15 Eagle jointly patrol America’s northeastern frontier over Prince William Sound, Alaska. Enjoy this image on a poster or framed art print, or purchase this image on a set of greeting cards — visit the PatriArt Gallery today for all your holiday shopping needs.
After some delay, Pentagon weapons czar John Young last week freed up part of the funding that Congress allocated in the FY 2009 defense budget to keep the F-22 production line going through early next year.
A DoD press release issued 12 November states Young authorized USAF “to take steps to spend up to $50 million for advanced procurement associated with four F-22 aircraft” beyond the 183 aircraft already under contract. (According to Air Force Magazine, these four F-22s apparently correspond to the four Raptors that OSD intends to request in the next war supplemental to replace F-16s lost since 9/11 in the war on terror.)
According to the release, Young wrote: “In January, the next Administration can decide to obligate additional advanced procurement funds, up to the Congressional $140 million ceiling, to support up to 20 F-22 aircraft.” Young stated that, based on industry input, advance procurement of four aircraft now, coupled with additional advance procurement in January, “will bridge the F-22 line with little or no additional cost.”
Significantly, OSD did not request funds to buy more Raptors beyond 183 in the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2009 budget request. However — as Air Force Magazine points out — the Fiscal 2009 defense authorization act includes $523 million added by Congress to procure materials and long-lead-time parts for an additional lot of 20 F-22s beyond 183. But the lawmakers stipulated that only $140 million of that amount could be used until the new Administration makes a production decision.
Air Force Magazine quotes Air Force Secretary Michael Donley as saying he anticipates that there will be a contract “soon,” based on OSD’s announcement. He said the money for the full purchase of the four F-22s will be in the war supplemental.