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Lawmakers Swoop In To Protect F-22

Top members of the House Armed Services Committee are asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates to overrule a recent Pentagon decision to hold off buying equipment for F-22 fighter jets.

The Air Force had asked for $140 million to help purchase the Raptor fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin, but Pentagon officials rejected the request, said Democratic Reps. Ike Skelton of Missouri and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Jim Saxton of New Jersey.

That decision could threaten the production line, lawmakers indicated.

“The obligation of $140 million to sustain F-22A production until March 15, 2009, is a prudent decision for the department and the American taxpayer,” the lawmakers wrote Gates on Friday.

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