Air Force seeks more F-22 jets

Feb. 17, 2009 at 11:05 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The Air Force chief of staff said Tuesday he will ask U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates for more F-22 Raptor jets.

The Hill reported Gen. Norton Schwartz said the Air Force is looking to buy more than the 183 radar-evading F-22s now ordered.

The newspaper noted the White House has until March 1 to decide whether to approve more than the 183 F-22s already ordered.

Air Force officials and analysts have said that out of the 183 fighter jets, only 100 will be available for military operations at any one time. The remainder will be used for training exercises or stuck in maintenance.

Schwartz said he will present his case for more Lockheed Martin F-22s based on an "analytical study."

The Air Force's position is "driven by analysis as opposed to some other formulation, and I think it will withstand scrutiny," Schwartz said.

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