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This article was Originally Published on Apr 19, 2006 in Volume: 5  Issue: 1

House votes against early retirement of aircrafts

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The House has voted to delay Air Force attempts to retire dozens of aging aircraft, a move seen by top service officials as a means to save close to $2.6 billion by 2011. The Air Force had planned to use the savings as a way to improve current aircraft and to purchase new ones, but House representatives said the retirement plan was risky and could ultimately leave the service with a dangerously low number of working and available aircraft. Under the vote, the House prohibited the Air Force from retiring any of its B-52 bombers until a replacement is available. It also denied the service’s plan to accelerate the retirement of 52 F-117 Nighthawk fighter jets and moved to delay retirements of any 34 U-2 reconnaissance aircraft until the Pentagon can prove the manned planes are no longer needed to gather intelligence or provide surveillance. Earlier this month, the House approved 396 to 31 its $512.9 billion fiscal 2007 defense authorization bill, including the authorization of $408 million for the Pentagon to restore funding for the F136 alternative engine in the Joint Strike Fighter program, $1.4 billion to pay for 20 new Raptors in Fiscal 2007 and $300 million for three additional C-17 aircraft. The bill also includes multiyear procurement for the F-22 Raptor and V-22 Osprey. The Senate Armed Services Committee will mark up its version of the 2007 Defense Authorization bill either this month or early next month.

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