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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 25, 2003
4:52 PM
CONTACT: Project On Government Oversight (POGO) 
Eric Miller or Beth Daley beth@pogo.org (202) 347-1122
Critical Pentagon Review of F-22 Program Set for Thursday
 
WASHINGTON - March 25 - The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) today called on the Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) to block approval this week of a U.S. Air Force request to purchase the next lot of F-22 fighter aircraft. Some senior Pentagon officials favor canceling this overpriced and unproven system, yet they face the obstacle of Congressional pork barrel politics.

“For every F-22 it buys, the Air Force could buy four tried and true F-16s. Why are we wasting extraordinary amounts of money on a system that we don’t need?” said Danielle Brian, POGO’s Executive Director.

The DAB is due to review the status of the F-22 flight test program and its readiness to begin initial operational testing in a two-hour closed-door meeting on Thursday morning. The Air Force is asking permission to procure 20 of the tactical fighters this year at a cost of up to $5.3 billion.

The F-22 fighter development and testing program is dragging behind schedule and attempts by the Air Force to control costs are failing miserably, according to a recent report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), “Tactical Aircraft: DOD Needs to Better Inform Congress about Implication of Continuing F/A Cost Growth”, GAO-03-280 (see http://www.pogo.org/p/defense/da-030301-f22.html). The report concluded that the Air Force has been unable to implement the cost-saving measures it promised and has kept Congress in the dark about excessive cost overruns.

The GAO also concludes that the F-22 program is experiencing several technical problems, including violent movement or “buffeting” of the aircraft’s vertical fins, overheating in some areas of the aircraft, a weakening of materials in the horizontal tail, and instability of the aircraft’s avionics software.

POGO has published several reports on its investigations into the F-22 that can be viewed at: http://www.pogo.org/p/defense/defsubmain.html#f22. One report predicted that because of skyrocketing costs, the Air Force would only be able to purchase 100 to 175 F-22s to replace the fleet of 1,600 F-16s.

POGO investigates, exposes, and seeks to remedy systemic abuses of power, mismanagement, and subservience by the federal government to powerful special interests. Founded in 1981, POGO is a politically-independent, nonprofit watchdog that strives to promote a government that is accountable to the citizenry.

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