More F-22 Money, OK; Incremental Buy, Maybe Not

A key House Armed Services panel would increase the Administration’s Fiscal 2007 defense budget request by $1.4 billion to purchase 20 F-22A fighters, instead of approving the Air Force’s request to use an incremental funding approach to purchase subassemblies in 2007. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Penn.), chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, said that to his knowledge Congress “has not approved the incremental funding for major aircraft programs in decades.” Although Weldon’s panel would back a multiyear procurement approach for the F-22, it makes approval contingent on getting “supporting justification” from the Air Force. And, that is exactly what concerns Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who chastised service leaders for asking Congress to OK a plan that’s based only on a “rough analysis.”