UPDATE 1-White House repeats F-22 veto threat

Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:23am IST

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* White House opposes more F-22s, second F-35 engine

* White House opposes split buy of aerial tanker

* House expected to soon debate defense spending bill

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) - The Obama administration repeated on Tuesday a threat to veto an annual defense spending bill if it included money to continue Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-22 aircraft production line.

The U.S. House is expected to begin debating this week its version of the fiscal 2010 appropriations bill for the Pentagon. Fiscal 2010 begins on Oct. 1.

The Senate last week approved its version of the annual funding bill and gave President Barack Obama a victory by stripping out money for the F-22 and to develop an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, also made by Lockheed.

In a policy statement released on Tuesday, the White House said it "strongly objects" to the House bill's $369 million for a dozen F-22 fighter aircraft because the 187 F-22s now in the U.S. military's fleet are enough.

"If the final bill presented to him contains this provision, the president will veto it," the statement said.

The administration also said it opposed funding of $560 million in the House bill to develop an alternate engine for the F-35, but stopped short of threatening a veto. The alternate engine is being built by General Electric Co (GE.N) and Rolls Royce Group Plc (RR.L).

In another high-profile weapons project, the long-delayed competition to build a new Air Force aerial tanker, the White House said it preferred the Pentagon ultimately choose a single contractor and not split the buy. Rivals Boeing Co (BA.N) and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) have competed for the multi- billion-dollar competition in the past. (Reporting by Julie Vorman; editing by Andre Grenon)

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