Andrea Shalal-Esa, of Reuters, quotes Jim McAleese today saying that the US Air Force will delay KC-X and CSAR-X in order to pay for 60 more F-22s.
Jim McAleese, a consultant with close ties to the Air Force,said the service was counting on receiving $10 billion in additional funding aspart of an expected $57 billion increase in the Pentagon’s overall base budgetfor fiscal 2010 that begins Oct. 1 next year.
Work on a fleet of new refueling tankers, which the AirForce had named as its No. 1 acquisition priority, is expected to be delayedfor at least a year. The Pentagon decided in September to redo the heatedcompetition between Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp, which teamed up with
The No. 2 priority program, a $15 billion drive to buy new combatsearch and rescue helicopters, has also been delayed as the Air Forcereviews competing bids from Boeing, Lockheed and Sikorsky Aircraft, aunit of United Technologies Corp.
As a result, funding for both programs would likely remain underthe ‘research and development’ heading for a while longer, letting theAir Force use its limited procurement dollars for more F-22s, McAleesesaid.
McAleese also says that the USAF will be content to buy 60 more F-22s, which would reduce their roughly eight-year-old requirement from 381 to 243.
I strongly doubt that the USAF will ever be so content. When the time comes to close production on the F-22 line in another three years, I expect to see another huge fight.