"A MAJOR revamp of the $723 billion US defence budget will see the Pentagon dump big-spending equipment programs but retain the controversial $16billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program expected to be the backbone of the RAAF's air power late next decade.
The budget audit announced by Defence Secretary Robert Gates effectively ends any hope of the RAAF acquiring the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, priced at $US130 million ($182 million) each, after the Pentagon decided production should cease.
Others to face the chop include the C-17 heavy airlifter, of which the RAAF has four.
The cuts will see large conventional military programs slashed, and greater emphasis on lower-tech battlefields such as Afghanistan, with special forces and unmanned aerial systems as the big winners."
"Mr Gates [DefSec] said he planned to halt new purchases of the fifth-generation F-22 from aerospace company Lockheed Martin after delivery of the 187 now on order.
The good news for Australia is that spending on the F-35 JSF, another Lockheed Martin program, will be increased from $US6.8 billion this year to $US11.2 billion next year, money that is expected to help cap development costs for allies such as Australia."
"The Ausmin [Australia–US Ministerial] talks are expected to canvass more Australian troops for Afghanistan.
North Korea's long-range missile program will also loom large in the talks."