DoD report: Air Force lacks funding to maintain mandatory fighter aircraft numbers

The Department of Defense has issued a troubling warning in its 30 year “Annual Aviation Inventory and Funding Plan” report, released in March of this year.

The Air Force is expected to maintain at least 1900 fighter aircraft until the year 2021 as mandated in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but according to the DoD this will not be possible.

“The Air Force has insufficient resources to maintain the FY 2016 NDAA mandated number of fighter aircraft (1900) beyond the 2017-2021 FYDP,” according to the report.

There are currently 1,971 fighter aircraft (A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, F-22s and F-35As) within the Air Force inventory, 1,280 active and 691 in reserve.

The current Air Force plan calls for divesting all of the A-10 aircraft by 2022, but according to the report this plan is subject to change.

“At the current resource levels, projected aircraft service life divestiture outpaces procurement.”

According to the report, the Air Force plans on procuring 243 F-35 aircraft while it divests the A-10s that have been in service since 1977.

The report does not elaborate on the possible changes to the A-10 divestiture plan but it is likely the A-10 retirement will be delayed to maintain the 1900 aircraft minimum.

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