Skip to comments.Rep. Abercrombie predicts more F-22 purchases
Posted on 06/18/2009 10:47:21 AM PDT by jazusamo
A key House defense authorizer on Thursday predicted that Congress will likely fund as many as 20 more F-22 Raptor fighter jets, despite the Obama administration deciding to put the kibosh on the Lockheed Martin contract after the 187th airplane is delivered.
The renewed fight over Lockheeds F-22 comes as a surprise at a time when most lawmakers, contractors and the Air Force have all stopped talking about buying more stealthy, radar-evading fighter jets beyond 187.
The final F-22 plane will be delivered by the end of 2011 or early 2012, after which the production line in Marietta, Ga., is slated to close.
But Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Armed Services Air and Land Forces subcommittee, said at a breakfast with reporters on Thursday that there will likely be support in Congress to buy as many as 20 more planes.
The House Armed Services Committee this week kick-started what could be another heated debate over the F-22. Defense authorizers narrowly agreed to add $369 million for the procurement of materials and items for 12 F-22s that the Pentagon would purchase in 2011. The provision sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) passed narrowly by a 31-30 vote.
Abercrombie voted against it, but only because of a technicality: he wanted better identification of where the offset money would come from to pay for the advance materials.
Abercrombie said he still believes the Pentagon should buy 20 more planes at least as an assurance, a bridging strategy while the administration mulls longer-range strategic issues. Congress already decided last year that the Pentagon should buy 20 more planes and appropriated the money for items that could be bought in advance for the production of those planes.
The lawmaker, who is running for governor in Hawaii, also expressed clear displeasure at the fact that the Pentagon has ignored Congress direction from last year to buying 20 more planes and has not spent the appropriated money for the advance materials for those planes.
The new provision approved this week by the House Armed Services Committee will have to survive an extensive approval process, as the House Armed Services panel was the first to mark up the bill. The Senate Armed Services Committee is taking up the 2010 defense authorization next week and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is expected to fight for more F-22s. Regardless of what happens on the authorizing panels, appropriators would have to follow suit by actually writing in the funds for the advance procurement, and the administration is expected to fight any additional procurement of the F-22 beyond the 187 planes it committed to. The Pentagon did not want funding toward any new planes in 2010.
Additionally, lawmakers would have to find money next year to buy the planes an increasingly difficult proposition at a time when the Obama administration is looking to tighten the belt and seeking to pay for other defense priorities. Because the planes will not be bought as part of a multi-year contract that could save money, they are expected to cost $250 million apiece. Twelve planes therefore could cost as much as $3 billion.
Bump from under the glide path of the Lockheed Martin factory in Marietta, Ga!
Wow, a whole 20 more. That’ll make the difference...
Good fricken grief!
You’re right, it isn’t much but it just may keep the line open long enough to get a president that takes his responsibility seriously about protecting our nation. Then again maybe it’s wishful thinking.
...and the AF is still trying to resolve the contract problems delaying the new generation tanker aircraft.
That’s an interesting point. I would urge the manufacturer to drag their feat with production. If they can keep the line open until January 2013, they might just keep the program alive.
That aircraft is an amazing machine. It would just about be criminal negligence to prevent the nation from having it for protection for the next 30 years.
I am not convinced pilotless aircraft are going to replace all manned fighters.
And 20 more after that and 20 more....
The F-22 production run is going to be hard to kill.
It certainly will make a difference ... It's the only way to get the ... what ... 200? 300? more that we actually need. We get them a few at a time. Ask for them all at once, and the anti-American treasonous bastards in the MSM and Congress have a hissy-fit and shut the whole thing down.
I would certainly hope so. Just think of the decades worth of work that has gone into the aircraft, only to be lopped off by this fruitcake.
Agreed, and lets hope they keep increasing at least twenty at a time.
I agree with that. I’ll will tell you that when I saw that 20 it angered me. Yours and other takes on it are on target.
Yes, I agree.
I wish I could remember the number of times the president and or the military wanted to end a weapon system only to see it in the next year’s budget. Congressman love money coming into their districts and sometimes that ‘pork’ is necessary for the nation. They loathe to end it and it becomes campaign ammo to potential candidates who want their jobs. The F-22 will be harder to kill than most.
Yes, exactly. That is my hope as well.
Thank you. That dynamic is something I had left out of the equation. Good point...