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US to “Retire” 310 Combat Aircraft Including 32 F-22 “Raptor” Next Year

Retiring 310 aircraft, including 32 F-22 Raptors, aims to ensure that the United States Air Force has more financial resources to be spent on its future needs, such as the sixth-generation aircraft called "New Generation Air Combat" (NGAD).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — In order to ensure it has more financial muscle to spend next year, the United States Air Force (USAF) plans to retire 310 fighter aircraft currently used by various combat squadrons.

The retirement of these 310 combat aircraft will enable the USAF to have more funds to allocate towards future needs, such as the sixth-generation aircraft known as “New Generation Air Combat” (NGAD) and the development of drones to support aerial warfare.

The USAF has requested a total of $185 billion for its budget next year, which is an increase from the $179 billion allocation it received for this year.

According to high-ranking USAF officials, the aircraft to be retired next year include the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), KC-10, and an expedited phase-out of the A-10 Warthog fighter aircraft.

While the U.S. Congress has blocked the USAF’s efforts to retire the Air Dominance F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft this year, the USAF will continue its efforts to retire the F-22 in 2024.



The USAF plans to retire 32 F-22 Block 20 aircraft, which consist of older variants requiring significant upgrades in the next year.

U.S. authorities are more inclined to retire these fifth-generation fighter aircraft rather than investing billions of dollars in their technological upgrade.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the USAF spends approximately $2.2 billion annually to operate about 170 operational F-22 Raptor aircraft.

The report suggests that the funds saved through retiring these 32 F-22 aircraft can be redirected toward the development of the sixth-generation NGAD aircraft.

Additionally, the USAF aims to retire the F-15C/D fighter aircraft operated by the Air National Guard, with 57 of these aircraft planned for retirement next year.

E-3 “Sentry”


They will be replaced with the more modern F-15EX variants and F-35 fifth-generation fighter aircraft with a single engine.

The USAF also plans to retire 16 E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft next year.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall stated that various equipment within the AWACS aircraft has become outdated, and the USAF will not “lose anything” by retiring these early warning aircraft.

The responsibilities previously carried by the E-3 AWACS aircraft will now be handled by their replacement, the E-7 Wedgetail.

According to the plan, the USAF will also retire a total of 48 MQ-9 “Reaper” drones that have aged and are too expensive to upgrade, as well as C-130 transport aircraft of the “H” and “J” variants and 24 KC-10 tanker aircraft, among others, next year. — DSA




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