Procurement: March 10, 2001


The Bush Administration has quietly signaled that it will "go slow" on missile defense (perhaps with a demonstration program for anti-missiles on aegis cruisers and a vague plan to migrate the defenses to space sometime after 2010) as pushing hard on missile defense now would endanger vital aircraft programs. The F-22 is virtually sacrosanct (since having a decisively superior fighter opens the door for all other aircraft types), the Joint Strike Fighter will be delayed by a year so that it can meet its requirements, and the V-22 is in serious danger. After 10 years of development, the V-22 is said by critics to still be unready for troop use and may be scrapped in favor of buying more UH-60, CH-43, and CH-47 helicopters. The Air Force is currently planning to delay the first batch of 14 F-22 Raptor fighters in order to spend $475 million on initiatives to reduce future production costs.--Stephen V Cole




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