Bond…. Kit Bond

Potential program-cutting attacks directed at the F/A-22 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter have registered a positive note with the Missouri Congressional delegation. That’s because they’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure any cuts to the Air Force’s next generation fighters will translate into boosted production of the F-15. Missouri lawmakers believe that the Air Force will have to purchase new legacy fighters to make up for a reduced buy of F/A-22 and F-35 fighters, so they have asked for $130 million in the 2006 defense budget to buy F-15s. Such a move would bring a welcome sigh of relief at the aircraft’s Boeing production facility in St. Louis. “By keeping the line alive, we will maintain the work force,” Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.) told The Hill, a political newspaper popular with lawmakers and Congressional staffers. Bond added that it would cost $1 billion to start up the line if it were to close down.