Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), powerful head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has questioned whether the Air Force had gotten the requisite permissions for the “non-traditional funding strategy” it was proposing for the F-22A Raptor. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne responded at a hearing last week that the plan had been “vetted” with acquisition and legal officials. USAF plans to purchase zero Raptors in 2007 and 20 each year thereafter through 2010. The service wants to buy key subsystems only in 2007. The new multi-year approach, which the service says would extend the F-22A line to coincide with production of the F-35, would “salvage some” cost savings of the earlier buy of 28 aircraft per year, said Wynne.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.