Thursday, March 4, 2010

USAF Cutting Much Needed Aircraft

The USAF will retire 250 front line fighter aircraft by the end of FY2010 (September 30). The rundown:

F-15s - 135 to be retired, consisting of:
85TES, Eglin AFB, loses 2 aircraft
19FS, Elmendorf AFB, loses 24 aircraft and closes
199FS, Hickam AFB, loses 15 aircraft
71FS, Langley AFB, loses 18 aircraft, and closes
48FW, RAF Lakenheat, loses 6 aircraft
325FW, Tyndall AFB, loses 48 aircraft and ceases F-15 operations

F-16s - 112 to be retired, consisting of:
163FS, Ft. Wayne (IN ANG), loses 18 aircraft, converts to A-10
34FS, Hill AFB, loses 24 aircraft and closes
188FS, Kirtland AFB (NM ANG), loses 18 aircraft and closes
56FW, Luke AFB, loses 28 aircraft
52FW, Spangdahlem AB, loses 18 aircraft

A-10 - 3 aircraft to be retired, others to be redistributed

The aircraft being retired will be sent to the desert in Tucson, never to fly again. 4000 airmen displaced because of the retirements will be shuffled off to other jobs, mostly in intelligence gathering operations. The USAF is hoping to save $3.5 billion over the next five years by retiring these aircraft, with the money (hopefully) going to replacements.

There is nothing wrong with these aircraft. Indeed, many of them have been active in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, or training personnel for operational units. Retiring them is strictly a financial issue. There is no replacement for these aircraft available - it is a one-for-one loss of capability for our Air Force.

This is on top of the hundreds of F-15s and F-16s that have been retired over the past few years, due to age and budget.

Combine this with a pathetically small force of 187 F-22s, and the delays and production cuts plaguing the F-35, and the USAF will be a shadow of what it was just a few years ago for a long time to come.

Lunacy ....

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