The U.S Air Force Could Soon Retire More Than 30 F-22s – A Lot Earlier Than Expected

The Air Force intends to retire almost three dozen F-22 fighter planes from Tyndall Air Force Base in fiscal 2023, putting a stop to plans made to relocate them to Virginia that were on hold for more than three years. Since Tyndall was devastated by a hurricane in October 2018, the Raptors have been operating out of adjacent Eglin AFB in Florida. Officials plan to sell 33 of the service’s eldest F-22s and use the proceeds to fund cutting-edge combat fighter research as part of the “Next-Generation Air Command” program. If Congress adopts the plan, all but three Block 20 Raptors would be sent to the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, reducing the entire fleet from 186 to 153 jets.

Pentagon Wants to Begin Retiring Relatively New F-22s: Troubled Stealth  Fighter Increasingly Out of Favour

According to Maj. Gen. James Peccia, the Air Force’s deputy assistant budget secretary, upgradation of the stealth fighters from their current position as instructional planes to combat-capable roles is too costly. The Air Force estimates that $1.8 billion over eight years would be better spent on updating younger F-22s with more modern avionics and enhancing the F-35A Lightning II. While it is functionally not an aircraft retirement, the Air Force expects to be able to unload the costs of 100 Block 1 MQ-9 Reapers to a governmental entity that Kendall did not name. This approach removes funds for maintenance and operation for those Reapers from the Air Force’s budgeting while maintaining the capabilities required to satisfy combatant commander needs. In terms of high running expenses, the F-22 fleet was not constructed in adequate amounts to replace the F-15, therefore its logistics and the supply chain don’t really benefit as much from economies of scale as planes like the F-16 and F-35.

“We will take functioning planes and train with them, but we can also take them and employ them in combat,” Peccia has said on March 25. “It’s truly about spending every dollar as wisely as we can in our fighter portfolio as we strive to upgrade it.” The sophisticated stealth fighter is projected to retire 33 aircraft, but only from Block 20, which is utilized for coaching and has no fighting capabilities. Only three of these planes would stay operational out of the total of 153 F-22s. The Raptor will be phased out of service within the next ten years, according to the USAF.

How F-22, F-35 Compare to Russian Su-57, Chinese J-20 5th-Gen Fighters

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