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B-52 Retirement Opposition: House defense authorizers reaffirmed their desire that USAF keep 76 B-52 bombers, rather than dropping down to 56 as proposed in the President’s 2008 budget request. In their version of the new defense bill, they provide $106.4 million to upgrade and maintain the entire fleet of 76, until USAF comes up with a replacement platform, currently on the Pentagon agenda for around 2018. Lawmakers have repeatedly expressed skepticism that USAF can meet that aggressive timetable.