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Defense Budget Maintains Deep Cutbacks For F-22
President Barack Obama's federal budget proposal, submitted Thursday, advances his promise to end production of the Pratt & Whitney-powered F-22 fighter jet and sets up a showdown with congressional representatives from Connecticut and other states with a stake in the plane's production.
Obama said the F-22 is too expensive and already outdated for emerging military needs.
Sent to Congress Thursday, the proposed $3.5 trillion 2010 fiscal year budget includes money for closing down F-22 production lines, but none for buying more than 187 total aircraft, in line with last month's military budget preview by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Still, the budget includes billions of dollars for projects that benefit Connecticut defense industry companies, including:
• $4.6 billion for submarines built or designed at Electric Boat in Groton
• $10.4 billion for F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, for which Pratt makes the primary engine
• $3 billion for helicopters from Sikorsky Aircraft
• $440 million for research and development of a flying fuel tanker, potentially a Pratt project.
While the budget would cancel a $15 billion search-and-rescue helicopter program sought by Stratford-based Sikorsky, it would also terminate a program to build a new U.S. presidential helicopter already won by a Sikorsky rival.
Congress ultimately approves the budget and now has the opportunity to revise it, a process that usually stretches into the fall.