Defense Secretary Robert Gates has directed that more than $2.8 billion originally earmarked to buy F-35 strike fighters through 2015 be redirected into the aircraft's developmental activities to keep the multibillion-dollar project from derailing, Bloomberg news wire service reported, Jan. 6, 2010. This move, expected to be included in the Pentagon's Fiscal 2011 budget request that will go to Congress in February 2010, would reduce the number of F-35s purchased over that period by 122 airframes, or roughly one quarter, according to Bloomberg. Here, Gates (middle), who has said keeping the F-35 program on track is a top priority, tours Lockheed Martin's F-35 production facility in Fort Worth, Tex., with Lockheed President Robert Stevens (r) and Vice President Ralph Heath, (l), Aug. 31, 2009.
DOD photo by Cherie Cullen
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