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Lawmakers lobby Pentagon to continue buying Ga.-made jets

WASHINGTON - Georgia lawmakers are pressuring the Pentagon to change its plans for ending production of the F-22A fighter jet, with some 2,000 Atlanta-area jobs at stake.

The Defense Department so far is standing by its decision to phase out the high-tech plane after 2009. But some analysts say the department may be reconsidering, particularly as a deadline approaches for keeping the manufacturing supply chain going.

'They're getting down to fish or cut bait time,' said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a defense research group. 'They'll have to find the money from somewhere ... but I think they have a pretty good chance.'

Georgia lawmakers are leading the charge for new purchases. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and Rep. Phil Gingrey recently circulated letters of support among other lawmakers whose states host work on the jet. The aircraft is made by Lockheed Martin, with work done in 44 states.