Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made yet another pitch on Thursday night for killing the F-22 in its tracks. However, he provided no new evidence to support his claim that 187 of the fighters are militarily sufficient. Addressing the Economic Club in Chicago, Gates gave short shrift to complaints that DOD was falling short on analytics, claiming that this is merely a cover for F-22 backers to pursue “business as usual.” Lawmakers—on both sides of the F-22 Raptor debate—have asked to see the Pentagon’s studies and analyses. They have been rebuffed. They have been told by senior defense officials that studies do exist and would be provided. Then, this week, a Pentagon spokesman explained there was no study, just “work products.” In the end, the Pentagon chief didn’t clear the air much. (Gates remarks here)
When the Air Force sets a new program baseline for the B-52 re-engining this fall, there will be “some” cost increase, because the project wasn't previously fully funded, and the Air Force has a better handle on actual supplier costs and knowledge from ground testing, program officials said.