Obama Sounds Death Knell for F-22; New Pentagon Budget Rolls Back Many Big Programs

A top executive at Lockheed Martin Corp. indicated Tuesday that it has accepted the Pentagon’s proposal to cap production of the defense contractor‘s F-22 fighter jet, the latest sign the job-heavy program may not be revived.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed that the Pentagon buy 187 of the planes, short of the 20 to 60 more that Lockheed and its supporters in Congress had hoped for. The Gates plan was endorsed last week by to Air Force officials, who previously pushed hard for many more of the technologically advanced but costly planes.

By STEPHEN MANNING, AP Business Writer

F-22 Raptor

As lead contractor on the jets that cost $140 million each, Lockheed has warned in a public relations blitz that capping the F-22 could lead to up to 25,000 job losses at the company and other suppliers working on the program. The F-22 assembly line at Lockheed’s Marietta, Ga., aircraft plant likely will turn out the last plane in 2012 if Gates’ plan, which must be approved by Congress, goes into effect.

Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner said in an investor call that the company has lobbied on the issue, but the Pentagon is “completely aligned on this matter from top to bottom.”

“We are disappointed by the decisions, but we will accept those and go on,” Tanner said.

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Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy wrote that President Obama is gutting an important part of the U.S. defense budget by cutting America’s power-projection capabilities.

The defense budget reductions recently unveiled by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates seem to have one thing in common: They will diminish the United States’ ability to extend its global reach for the protection of this country and its interests around the world.

For example, Mr. Obama and Mr. Gates propose to cancel the C-17, America’s indispensable airlifter; the F-22, the world’s best fighter/attack aircraft; and the Army’s Future Combat Systems program, a comprehensive and long-overdue modernization program for that service’s armored forces. They would also truncate the purchase of F-18 E/Fs, the backbone of naval aviation, evidently as a precursor to reducing the number of operational aircraft carriers. Missile defense programs will be ravaged. There will be no modernization, ever, of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. And the industrial base needed to support all of the above will be allowed to atrophy and/or be sold off to foreign powers keen to manufacture the superior weapon systems we no longer will.


Gaffney on Obama:
First 100 Days: Blame America First, Undermining U.S. Sovereignty, Appeasement

China displays resurgent naval strength
China: Military Modernization Continues
Russia Rearms

Pentagon cuts are about budget pressure — not what Pentagon really needs for the future

Above: Russia’s Medvedev

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