Georgia’s two Senators, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R), along with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (D/I), have come out in strong opposition to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plan to halt F-22 production at 187 airframes. And, all three Senators said they would work to reverse the decision as Congress debates the Fiscal 2010 defense bills. “I am extremely disappointed in this decision,” wrote Chambliss, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a joint release with Isakson issued April 6 after Gates’ press conference earlier that day that announced the news on the F-22. Chambliss added, “Air Force leadership recommended procuring 60 additional F-22s. I am disappointed that the Obama Administration did not accept its recommendations.” Isakson said he was “severely disappointed” in Gates’ announcement, noting that, “The F-22 is vital to 21st century American military superiority.” Lieberman, who chairs the Senate armed services airland panel, said in a separate release April 6, he “strongly” opposes the F-22 decision. “If we stop the F-22 program now, our industrial base will suffer a major blow before the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter reaches full-rate production,” he stated.
An Active-Duty Airman set himself on fire in front of the Israeli Embassy this afternoon, the Air Force confirmed to Air & Space Forces Magazine. The man, who was taken to the hospital and is in critical condition, has not yet been publicly identified.