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The U.S. Defense Department is warning Congress that a Senate proposal to put conditions on buying F/A-22 Raptors could force the Air Force to trim its next order.
In an Aug. 26 appeal to the House-Senate conference committee that is writing the final version of the fiscal 2005 defense authorization bill, DOD said it opposes Senate-passed language that would cut the F/A-22's FY '05 buy from 24 jets to 22 unless the program is meeting its delivery schedule. The Air Force is slated to award its FY '05 Raptor contract early in that fiscal year, before it expects to wipe out a delay in deliveries.
"Thus, if the appeal is not accepted, the Air Force could be limited to procurement of 22 F/A-22 aircraft," a DOD spokeswoman told The DAILY Aug. 27.
Senators said their proposed restriction is warranted because F/A-22 deliveries to the government have been well behind schedule since last year. But DOD said prime contractor Lockheed Martin is catching up.