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Wed, Jan 05, 2005

Budget Ax To Fall At Lockheed, Northrop

DOD Wants To Chop $30 Billion Over Six Years

This could get ugly -- word of plans that the Pentagon wants to cut $30 billion out of the budgets of companies like Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman. Those two companies would reportedly bear the brunt of cuts to weapons systems across the board.

But of those cuts, InsideDefense.com and Reuters report about $18 billion would come out of Lockheed's pocket. All the cuts were defined in a Program Budget Decision signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, according to Reuters.

But the White House, under the pressure of mounting budget deficits, is looking to cut spending government-wide, according to the reports. Among the cuts:

The USAF would get fewer F/A-22s than originally called for. Production of the Raptor would reportedly end in 2008, after delivery of 180 aircraft. The Pentagon originally wanted 277 of the stealthy planes.

The Pentagon would also end production of the Lockheed C-130J in an effort to save approximately $4.9 billion.

The Joint Common Missle would be cut, saving $2.3 billion, according InsideDefense.com.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would be spared in the search for cuts -- at least for now.

"If reductions do occur, most would not take effect for several years and, in the case of the FA-22 for example, we believe the aircraft will prove its value," Lockheed spokesman Thomas Jurkowsky told Reuters.

Northrop would be hit by deep cuts in the submarine program, as well as the next-generation destroyer project and others.

Boeing would lose out in a shuffling of the Missle Defense Agency. Boeing and Bell/Textron would see a major reduction in production of the V-22 Osprey. The Pentagon proposes cutting production of that line by 22 aircraft, according to Reuters.

FMI: www.defenselink.mil

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