Procurement: May 25, 2000


The military and Congress are starting to waver in their support for the Joint Strike Fighter, but Defense Secretary Cohen has vowed to fight for the program and the 3,000 aircraft it is intended to produce. The Navy has indicated that it would be willing to delay or cancel the JSF and instead build more FA-18Es. The Air Force has clearly given priority to its F-22 Raptor, and given a choice between the two aircraft would prefer the F-22 superiority fighter as once it has air superiority just about any aircraft can do the bombing. Congress, looking for ways to save money, has targeted the two big ticket aircraft programs. Unable to stop the F-22, Congressional committees have cut $150 million from the JSF budget, convinced that the plane cannot meet its test requirements on time. The JSF is regarded as the "Democratic party aircraft" and the Clinton Administration is determined to have the contract signed before it leaves office. --Stephen V Cole


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