Procurement: USAF Fades To A Transformation


May 11, 2009: The U.S. Air Force, still on the short end of the money train because of the war on terror (where the army is doing most of the fighting, and getting most of the money), will only buy 81 aircraft in fiscal 2010 (which begins this October). That's compared to 117 this year. Moreover, 30 percent of the 2010 aircraft will be MQ-9 UAVs, and 31 percent transports (six C-27s, 12 C-130s and five CV-22Bs).

To save money, so more aircraft can be bought, 250 warplanes (F-16s, F-15s and A-10s) will be taken out of service. The big savings here will be in 32,000 fewer flight hours (costing over $300 million). The air force will fly the same number of hours in 2010 (1.4 million) as this year, but that will enable the remaining aircraft to get more training for the 5,500 aircraft the air force still has in service. About a third of those are fighters and bombers. The rest are trainers, tankers, transports, plus recon and intel aircraft. The high cost of warplanes is causing a shift to cheaper UAVs.


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