The US Congress has passed a $318 billion fiscal year 2002 defence budget. The defence appropriations, which President Bush is expected to sign into law, fully funds 48 Boeing F/A-18E/Fs for the US Navy costing $3 billion, another $2.7 billion second low rate initial production batch of 13 Lockheed Martin Boeing F-22s for the USAF and $1.5 billion for development of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Boeing's lobbying also paid off with approval of plans to lease 100 767 tankers for 10 years at a cost of $20 billion to replace USAF KC-135Es. The bill continues multi-year procurement of another 15 Boeing C-17s for $2.8 billion.

Congress agreed $7.8 billion for ballistic missile defence, $441 million less than requested. While the Boeing 747 based Airborne Laser secured increased funds of $483 million, $120 million was cut from the space based laser and $478 million from the Space Based Infrared System -High and -Low.

Source: Flight International