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August 21, 2009—A bipartisan group of 18 Senators wants the Senate to include funding in the Fiscal 2010 defense appropriations bill to buy 12 additional C-17s beyond the current program of record, aircraft that the Pentagon has not requested.

Led by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the group sent a letter on Aug. 19 to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), respectively, requesting the additional aircraft.

The Senate panel is slated to mark up its version of the defense spending measure after Congress returns from its August recess.

“Terminating the C-17 will not only undermine our national security, but severely degrade our ability to maintain a viable and competitive aerospace industry,” the Senators write. They also believe it is "premature to shut down the C-17 line before the release of important air mobility reports in the coming months."  

The Air Force’s current plan is to buy 205 C-17s, but Congress added funds to this year’s war supplemental for eight more beyond that, so the service is cleared to buy a total of 213.

Further, the House has already voted to include funding for three additional C-17s on top of that in its version of the Fiscal 2010 defense spending bill.

Neither the House nor Senate added funds for more C-17s in their versions of the Fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill.