Air Force plans to decommission aircraft 👋 in fiscal 2022
The US Air Force is taking steps to renew its aircraft fleet. Deliveries of new aircraft and helicopters are carried out regularly and rhythmically, and at the same time old combat units are being written off. In the new FY2022. The Air Force plans to decommission more than 160 obsolete aircraft of various types, thus freeing up funds for urgent projects.
According to the latest World Air Forces 2022 from Flight Global magazine, the US Air Force has more than 5 thousand aircraft of many models – these are tactical and strategic combat vehicles. aviation, scouts, tankers, transporters, etc. Despite regular purchases of new equipment, the average age of combat aircraft is approaching 30 years, and for some types this parameter has already exceeded half a century.
The moral and physical obsolescence of technology has several negative consequences. First of all, this is the discrepancy between the tactical and technical characteristics of the current requirements. Outdated aircraft can no longer effectively solve combat missions, and meeting with modern models of a potential enemy poses a particular danger to them.
In addition, the operation of old technology is associated with organizational difficulties and increased costs. Due to the depletion of the resource, the aircraft require more maintenance and more often need to be repaired. At the same time, the stock of spare parts is coming to an end, and their replenishment is not always possible. Finally, some of the combat aircraft will fully deplete their service life in the coming years.
The obsolescence problem has been tackled in several ways. If possible, aircraft are repaired and modernized. Other machines, the restoration of which is impractical, are simply written off and sent to storage or disposal. They are replaced by new equipment, and the money saved is redirected to other purposes.
Due to the continuous process of obsolescence, the Air Force annually draws up plans to decommission a certain number of aircraft and helicopters. Such a plan is included in the draft military budget, and then approved by Congress. The preliminary plans for the new FY2022 were previously published, and now the decision of lawmakers has become known.
A-10 attack aircraft will continue to serve in the same numbers
At the suggestion of the Air Force
The Air Force’s draft budget for the next year was published at the end of May. To finance this kind of troops, the Pentagon requested $ 156 billion. At the same time, the authors of the project found an opportunity to save 1,37 billion by writing off 201 units. aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The largest reduction, according to the project, should have affected the fleet of F-15C / D and F-16C / D fighters – 48 and 47 units. respectively. By abandoning heavy fighters, it was possible to save $ 249 million per year, while it was planned to save only $ 30,9 million on light ones. It was noted that the decommissioning of old modifications of the F-15 and F-16 is only a matter of time. So, in 2023-27. F-15C / D fighters must develop the airframe resource, after which their operation will be impossible.
To save 343,9 million dollars, it was proposed to write off 42 A-10C attack aircraft. The prerequisite for this was again the age of the technology – more than 35 years. Restoration and modernization are not possible in all cases. In addition, the Air Force considers the current fleet of attack aircraft to be excessive for urgent tasks.
Old KC-135 tanker transfers fuel to modern F-22A fighter
It was planned to save almost 287 million due to the abandonment of 18 KC-135 tankers and 14 units. KC-10. The fleet of transport aircraft should be reduced by 8 units. C-130H with savings of $ 83 million. Another 106,5 million could be saved at the expense of four E-8 JSATRS combat control aircraft.
By now, reconnaissance and strike UAVs of early models have fallen into the category of morally and physically obsolete technology. So, the Air Force wants to write off 20 RQ-4A Block 30 products. Their operation would require $ 273 million.
All other samples of manned and unmanned vehicles are not included in the reduction plans. Their operation will continue in working order. As necessary, they will undergo repairs and modernization, up to the development of a resource. However, it is clear that some of the planes “rescued” in FY2022 will be cut in the next fiscal year.
Decision of the Congress
Over the past months, the draft budget of the Air Force went through all the instances and underwent noticeable changes. After controversy, one of the points of the project was excluded, and several others were changed. Additional proposals concerning other types of equipment were not made. As a result, plans for the new year include the decommissioning of only 164 aircraft, which will save more than $ 1 billion.
Tankers KC-10 of one of the squadrons
Plans to reduce fighters, command planes and drones remain the same. The congressmen agreed with the inexpediency of further exploitation of morally and physically obsolete equipment.
The proposal to decommission the A-10C attack aircraft again became the cause of controversy. These aircraft have special features and capabilities and are not directly replaceable. In this regard, they enjoy support “at the top”, and Congress again did not approve of their removal from service. 42 aircraft will remain in service, and the Air Force budget will have to provide 344 million for their operation.
The plans for the decommissioning of C-130H transport aircraft were changed, and also linked to the procurement of new equipment. Not 8, but 13 cars will be written off. At the same time, the purchase of five additional boards was added to the budget. Thus, the total number of aircraft will be reduced in accordance with the request of the Air Force, but the condition and average age of the fleet will improve.
They also approved a proposal to write off the KC-135 and KC-10 tanker aircraft in the amount of 18 and 14 units. respectively. At the same time, a further reduction of the KC-10 fleet was approved – such a permit will be used in the future, as needed.
Despite all the problems and difficulties, B-1B bombers will not be decommissioned next year
More than a billion dollars saved on decommissioned equipment will be redirected to the purchase of the necessary new production products. With their help, the budget for the purchase of new aircraft and various weapons will be increased. However, the growth of purchases in terms of quantity and price is not expected. FY2022 The Air Force will receive less equipment than in the previous period.
The world’s largest aircraft fleet provides the United States Air Force with the broadest operational and combat capabilities. At the same time, the Air Force is faced with a number of specific problems, and one of the main ones is associated with the continuous obsolescence of aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. Every year, tens and hundreds of aircraft develop the assigned resource or, at least, lose the required combat qualities.
In this regard, the Pentagon has to make plans not only for the purchase of new aircraft, but also for the massive write-off of unusable equipment. The next annual plans of this kind have gone through all the authorities and are included in the general military budget, which will soon be sent to the president for signature.
According to the published data, in the new financial year more than 90 aircraft and helicopters of modern types and modifications will be purchased. At the same time, 160 aircraft will be decommissioned. As a result of such processes, the total number of the Air Force aviation fleet will be reduced by several dozen combat and auxiliary units. However, the losses in numbers are expected to be offset by an increase in performance and a reduction in the average age of vehicles.