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Pentagon to Green Light 60 More F-22s?

8:58 PM, Feb 20, 2009 • By JOHN NOONAN
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Colin Clark reports:

The Air Force's chief of staff was careful to withhold his professional military advice until Defense Secretary Robert Gates gets it, but Gen. Norton Schwartz told reporters [Tuesday] morning that he would not "dispute" comments by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs late last year that the service would get an additional 60 F-22s, for a total of 243.

Schwartz then poured cold water on any hopes the Japanese and Australians might have of buying F-22s, saying some of the technologies in the plane are just too sensitive to export. [...]

Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that 60 is the exact number everyone has decided on, but Schwartz didn't try to pour cold water on it either… He did say the final decision should be out very close to the congressionally mandated date of March 1.

If the Pentagon approves 60 more F-22s that's approximately three additional squadrons of the air supremacy fighter, which is respectable--but inadequate. The Air Force's previous desired fleet projection of 381 airframes was, in and of itself, an enormous compromise (planners originally banked on over 600). The Obama administration would nonetheless be making the right choice by choosing to invest in America's continued air superiority, if they go ahead and order the additional jets. Here's another humble suggestion: less money for DoD green initiatives, more for war-winning weapon platforms.