Maj. Gen. Frank Faykes, USAF’s budget director, confirmed that the 2007 defense budget proposal permits USAF to squeeze out four more F-22A fighters—for a total of 183 fighters—and extend deliveries through 2012 until F-35s start rolling out, as General Wood explained above. The 2007 spending plan calls for $2.9 billion to cover primarily the subassembly work for 20 Raptors and some advance procurement costs. The Air Force would restructure the program to produce 20 fighters per year from fiscal 2008 to 2010. For the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, USAF wants $3.1 billion to cover F-35 systems development and demonstration work, low rate initial production for first five aircraft, and advanced procurement funds for eight JSFs.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.