New Mexico lawmakers in the past have fought to delay retirement of the 20-year-old F-117 stealth fighters and vowed earlier this month to press the Air Force for answers as to why it must move up the F-117 retirement date. Now, they seem willing to let the earlier demise of the F-117s slide. Why? They are pressing for a new fighter—the F-22A—or “something else,” Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) told the political newspaper The Hill. However, Domenici said, the Air Force owes the New Mexico delegation “some assurance of where we are going.” Without that, he said, “We are going to slow down” the F-117 retirement.
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.