I suspect Gates is asking for deeper cuts than he expects to get.
-71 was a joke, it should be cut, and it will. The VH
-71 and CSAR-X need to be rolled into one program, one platform, one gets SAR gear, one gets presidential gear. You get a common fleet and shared development costs.
The YAL-1A is a good technology, but perhapses a bit too ambitious. Don't get me wrong, I think it is a great program, with much potential, and development should continue. It really should have been a X-plane.
-X... just buy the damn KC
-767 or whatever Boeing offers. Let EADS beat their head against the courts for 20 years, they will lose. Times are tough... invest at home.
The F-22 needs one more batch. Period. 186 is not enough, even with a bazillion F-35s on order. Get one more batch of F-22s, keep the F-35 order as is, cut the 250 oldest aircraft, upgrade the F-15Es to the Silent Eagle standard... they are upgrading the F-15Es anyways, why not get a better aircraft for a few more bucks?
My guess, VH
-71 is gone, CSAR-X is on hold, YAL-1A goes to the back burner, KC
-X gets a Boeing order in 2010, F-22 gets a small second batch and opens for international orders, F-35 stays unchanged, F-15Es get minor upgrades.