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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010

Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2010 -- (House of Representatives - July 30, 2009)


Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman from Georgia and the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

I wanted to speak about the F-22 issue because, as we know, the Senate has cut off funding for it, but I do have some concerns about our fighter fleet.

Currently, the military inventory is 3,500 fighter aircraft. That's 2,400 for the Air Force, 1,100 for the Navy and the Marine Corps. Most of these aircraft were purchased at high annual rates during the 1980s. These aircraft will reach the end of their service in the next 10 years.

So what we're talking about is something that maybe could be more important in the next decade or within the next decade than might be to people today, but the Air Force will replace the A-10, the F-16, and the F-15 with the F-22 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

To give you an idea of some of these ages, there are 350 A-10s with an average age of 28 years, 470 F-15s with an average of 26 years, 220 F-15s with an average of 17 years, 1,200 F-16-S's with an average of 20 years. We have roughly 140 Raptors to replace the fleet and have no F-35-S's and will not have them until 2013. And of course the F-22 production line will end in 2011. That's the Air Force.

Now, as respects the Navy, the Navy will replace the carriers and F/A-18 Hornets with Super Hornets and the F-35-Js, Joint Strike Fighters. The reason they're doing this is to have 125 carriers with an average age of 14 years each, 620 Hornets with an average age of 19 years.


Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman.

What I will do, I will submit some of these statistics for the record. But I guess the bottom line is that we're very concerned with the need to replace the aging fleet in the Navy and in the Air Force, and I believe keeping the F-22 line open resolves some of this.

The Defense Committee has worked very hard on this. There's been a lot of good bipartisan dialogue. I know both sides care about it, whether you're for or against this amendment, but I think that at this time we need to go on this very cautiously and very slowly.

I appreciate the chairman's and the ranking member's leadership on this issue and look forward to continue working with you.


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