In a 58-40 vote today in the US Senate, the Levin Amendment to redistribute $1.75 billion which was previously earmarked for the purchase of F-22A aircrafts passed. The vote is seen as a significant win for the Obama Administration, which has argued that the money would be better spent on smaller aircraft.
The president had clashed with Democrats in Congress about the funding. Senators had argued that cutting the program would cost thousands of jobs and that it might also do damage to the long-term power of the military.
The stealth aircraft designed primarily for establishing air superiority, the F-22 has proved to be of little use in recent US wars which have chiefly involved occupying small nations with little if any air force of their own. The Obama Administration has insisted that continuing to add to the inventory, with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noting that despite fighting two protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they haven’t used an F-22 in a single mission in either.
The Obama Administration has sought to slash spending on high priced weapons systems like the F-22 as part of a “fundamental overhaul” of the Pentagon’s budget. Despite this, dramatic increases in spending on Predator drones and other weapons better suited to its current wars mean that the overall budget will actually go up.
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