DoD Freess Up Money for More USAF F-22 Raptors

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.

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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.

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