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Air Force is updating aircraft such as the F-16 and retiring aircraft such as the A-10

Bean counters in Washington are moving to reduce the overall size of America's Armed Forces in an effort to save money and balance the budget. According to the Air Force, it will increasingly turn to multirole aircraft for more flexibility. Air Force Sec. Michael Donley has said recently, "[The reduced size military] favors retaining multirole capabilities going forward. The tactical air forces are going to get smaller and still be required to address a broad spectrum of threats."
 
One aircraft the Donley pointed out that the Air Force would continue to operate is the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon. The F-16 is a multirole fighter that fits with the new mantra in the military. At the same time, the Air Force will be getting rid of five squadrons (one-third of the entire fleet) of the A-10 Warthog ground support aircraft according to Defense News.
 
Some fear that the Air Force could run into a situation where they have a fleet of aircraft that are jack-of-all-trades, yet master of none. However, analyst Dan Goure of the Lexington Institute said the Air Force can't afford to maintain specialized aircraft.
 
With significant delays in the current F-35 program, the Air Force will use the F-16 as a stopgap until the F-35 can be fielded. In order to do that, the Air Force will be modernizing roughly 350 F-16 fighter jets with new capabilities and extending the life of their airframes. Modernizing those aircraft are cheaper than buying new versions and Donley specifically said the Air Force would be buying no new F-16s.
 
Donley also reiterated that the Pentagon is completely behind the F-35 program and will be making no changes the number of aircraft it plans to purchase.
 
“I’d like to put this to bed as well as I can today,” he said. “The decisions about the size of the F-35 fleet, we’ve made no changes in that. Those are decisions for the 2020s.”
 
Donley also pointed out that the move to multirole aircraft will not only be in the attack fleet, he pointed to the C-27 like turboprop transport, which will be canceled and existing versions retired. He says that the C-130 is much more versatile aircraft that can handle the same missions and more. The Air Force will also move to common configurations of many aircraft to get more operational flexibility according to Donley.

Source: Defense News





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