Senate Appropriators Act on AF Programs

The Air Force’s F-22 fighter, C-17 airlifter and C-130J transport all got a thumbs up July 20 from the Senate Appropriations Committee. In approving a $453.5 billion fiscal 2007 defense budget, the panel fully funded 20 Raptors, 12 C-17s, and 8 C-130Js. Other USAF aircraft programs weren’t so lucky. The powerful appropriators delayed F-35 fighter production one year “to permit additional testing and design maturity,” according to a release. It deferred new spending for a KC-135 tanker replacement program and put off procurement of the Air Force-Army Joint Cargo Aircraft, waiting for the two services to “fully define requirements and complete a joint concept of operations.” The bill must pass the full Senate and survive later negotiations with the House.