The 2007 Budget Verdict on Fighters:

Maj. Gen. Frank Faykes, USAF budget spokesman, confirmed for reporters Monday that the 2007 defense budget permits USAF to restructure the F-22A program to produce 20 fighters per year from fiscal 2008 to 2010, squeezing out an extra four fighters for a total of 183. In 2007, USAF proposes spending $2.9 billion to cover primarily the subassembly work for 20 Raptors and some advance procurement costs. The service plans to extend deliveries through fiscal 2012 to keep the Raptor line “hot” in the event of unplanned delay in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. USAF would like to get multi-year procurement authority to cover the next 60 F-35s as a hedge against rising unit costs. The 2007 Air Force budget requests $3.1 billion to cover F-35 systems development and demonstration work, low rate initial production for first five aircraft, and advanced procurement funds for eight JSFs.