House approves defense appropriation: F-22 program capped, FCS restructured

WASHINGTON, 2 Aug. 2009. The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved an appropriations bill with $636.3 billion for military spending for 2010, and which effectively ends attempts to continue building the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor advanced tactical jet fighter.

WASHINGTON, 2 Aug. 2009. The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved an appropriations bill with $636.3 billion for military spending for 2010, and which effectively ends attempts to continue building the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor advanced tactical jet fighter.

The House bill for the 2010 DOD budget would eliminate money for 12 Lockheed F-22 fighters. The Senate also has removed money for additional F-22 fighter jets, which clears the way for a U.S. Department of Defense plan to stop F-22 procurement at 187 tactical aircraft. The appropriations bill is for federal fiscal year 2010, which begins 1 Oct.

The House defense appropriations bill also mirrors a similar Senate bill to restructure the U.S. Army Future Combat Systems (FCS) program by terminating its manned-vehicle component. Also in the House bill is language to accelerate production of the Lockheed Martin F- 35 joint strike fighter to 30 aircraft in 2010 from 14 this year. The Senate approved money for 30 JSF aircraft.

The House bill also potentially sets up a fight with the Obama Administration because the bill would include money for five Lockheed Martin presidential helicopters, a General Electric and Rolls-Royce backup engine to the F-35, nine Boeing Co. F-18E/F fighter-bomber aircraft, and three Boeing C-17 transport jets -- spending Obama opposes.

President Obama is threatening to veto the defense appropriations bill if Congress approves it unchanged. The Senate still must pass its appropriations bill, and reconcile it with the House version. A House-Senate conference will hammer out differences in the bills.

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