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Air Force meeting requirements for F-22 multi-year funding

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (July 26, 2006) -- The Air Force will meet all requirements to proceed with multi-year funding on purchasing of the last 60 F-22 Raptor aircraft.

During a July 26 testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee air-land subcommittee, Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne said the service has met five of six legislative requirements for proceeding with multi-year funding on the F-22 aircraft.

"The one I lack, really, is the authorization from the Congress," Secretary Wynne said. "I believe we have met five out of the six, the sixth being the funding, which I intend to meet in the fiscal year 2008 program objective memorandum."

In order to proceed with multi-year funding on the F-22, the Air Force must meet the six criteria laid out in Title 10 U.S. Code, Section 2306B. That part of the law requires the Air Force to show the multi-year contract promotes national security, the number of aircraft required is stable, the aircraft design is stable, the contract will result in substantial savings, the costs estimates for the contract and cost avoidance are realistic, and be able to provide stable funding throughout the contract period.

Lots 7, 8 and 9 of the F-22 will each produce about 20 aircraft, for a total of 60 over the course of six years. The last jet would be delivered around 2011.

Due to Department of Defense budget constraints, the Air Force was directed to purchase fewer aircraft in these lots than what the manufacturer is actually capable of producing. That slowdown of production would mean a cost increase for each individual jet, one that would be mitigated, in part, by the savings realized with multi-year procurement.

Under multi-year procurement, some funding for all three lots of aircraft would be given to the manufacturer in advance under economic order quantity purchase, allowing it to buy materials and parts in bulk to reap a savings. The Air Force could save as much as $3.7 million per aircraft under the plan.

The Air Force asked Congress to approve multi-year funding for the remaining 60 Raptors it plans to purchase over the next three fiscal years. Both houses of Congress have already approved the request.