Congressmen Rap Air Force on B-1B Woes

Associated Press

Two senior congressmen today charged that the Air Force has mismanaged production of the B-1B bomber, which they say cannot fulfill its role of penetrating Soviet airspace and will take an estimated $3 billion over four years to fix.

"The biggest problem confronting the B-1B is not its weight growth, its fuel leaks, or its uncertain electronic countermeasures," Reps. Les Aspin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Samuel S. Stratton (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement.

"The greatest problem is the Air Force itself, which exerts more effort to obscure the B-1's problems than to correct them. In the bluntest terms, the United States Air Force has been a greater threat to the success of the B-1 bomber than the Soviet Union," they said at a Capitol Hill news conference.

Aspin is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Stratton heads the committee's panel on procurement.

"Cancellation of the program is not an option," because 52 of the planned 100 B-1B bombers have already been delivered, the statement said.

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