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F/A-22 Supporters Not Giving Up Yet 

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The Air Force remains hopeful that its top modernization program, the F/A-22 air superiority fighter, will be restored to 381 aircraft, even though the Defense Department downsized the number to 180, or possibly 150.

An ongoing Pentagon study on “joint air dominance,” scheduled to be completed in September, may prove that 381 is the right number, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Ronald J. Bath, head of strategic planning. Like other F/A-22 supporters, Bath challenged the contention that the Air Force would get a bigger bang for the buck by buying more F-15s and F-16s. Spending additional money on “legacy aircraft” would be a mistake, he said. F-16s and F-15s cost much less than the $185 million F/A-22, “but the capability differential is huge.”

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