US Debates Halving F-35s Stealth Fighter Procurement

Internal documents by the Air Force’s future war-fighting cell indicated a plan to curb F-35 orders at 1,050 jets and Will Roper, the Air Force’s acquisition executive called for F-35 purchases to be capped at about 800 units. The old plan was to get 1,763 F-35As.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown is pushing to use new design and manufacturing techniques, such as digital engineering. This could allow the service to develop a “four-and-a-half-[generation] or fifth-gen-minus” fighter to replace early block F-16s at a lower cost than the F-35.

In 1992, the U.S. Air Force fought in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq and was operating a fleet of about 4,000 fighters. In 2021, the inventory has shrunk to 2,000 aircraft with an average age of 28 years.

4,600 F-16s have been built since 1974, and the fighter is currently in service with 26 countries. The last of fifty-nine F-117A stealth fighters were delivered in 1990. The US has had stealth fighter capability for over thirty years.

By Dec 1989, 2500 F-16s had been delivered worldwide.

The F-35 first flew in Dec 2006. Fifteen year after the first flight of the F-16 2500 had been delivered. Fifteen years after the first flight of the F-35 645 have been delivered.

SOURCES- Defense News
Written by Brian Wang,

19 thoughts on “US Debates Halving F-35s Stealth Fighter Procurement”

  1. If only they could make an extended version of the f35b. Jets are great until their airstrips are knocked out by enemy long range missiles. Dispersal is the name of the game these days.

  2. Herschel Walker was bigger, faster, and stronger than Barry Sanders. Yet Barry wasn't just better, he was WAY WAY better. F-16s would get crushed in the current battle space. You are thinking like an old man, use old-man metrics. F-35s are built for the current and short-term future battle spaces.

    F-35s have already proven superior in Middle Eastern standoffs.

    Will F-35s be used over Russia and China? Doubtful. That's not what they were built for. But in Middle East and South China Sea and Korea and Japan? Show me a fighter that can stay with them. Long-range superiority to any fighter out there. Other fighters are dead before they even pick the F-35 up…

  3. The American Empire is sinking. The common American is being lied to and is being robbed by the elite. A bunch of pre-historic men defeated the Empire in Afghanistan and confiscated $80B worth of weapons.

    All these weapons and fighter jets are a joke when the moral high ground was lost decades ago.

  4. Luckka said that!
    Many years ago in this forum I have said that the F35 program was going to collapse despite Khevan, Kimhi, GoatGuy and Brian himself saying the opposite
    I was right they were wrong ! Just sayin


  5. But of course.
    That's why the US military inelligentsia were vacillating between shock and anger after F-35s were sent in Syria and their stealth was tested againt russian radars.
    Of course it was because all was going well and by the time the F-35s were seen, it was too late to stop them.

  6. Yes, the S-400 & S-500 can see it, but by the time they do, it's too late. Stealth aircraft are not going away, Russia (or China) hasn't "cracked the code", if they had, their newest fighters wouldn't also be stealth.

  7. Exactly, most of the costs of the F35 program are already sunk. It's really asinine to cut the production numbers to try to make up for it with a less capable jet that's not even developed yet. The military procurement process in recent decades is a total joke.

  8. The F-35 is significantly slower, less maneuverable, and can carry fewer weapons than its counterparts in Russia, Europe, etc. Also, it has a lot of problems that so-called top engineers could not solve with decades and billions of $.

    Also, the latest – and even previous generation – radars can see it. It's confirmed that the russian S400 and S500 missile systems can do just this.
    And this makes the F35 an overexpensive, overcomplicated lemon.

  9. Brian, I love you man,


    I've walked the mile-long floor where they have manufactured all the F-16s and all the F-35s Many times. Talked to dozens of the engineers who worked both projects.

    I see no way any rational thinking person could compare the two. No way.

    An F-16 is just basicly a tiny cockpit and minimal airfoils wrapped around a large jet engine. Minimal flight controls, minimal computer guidance, and minimal computer code.

    The F-35 is a flying supercomputer built with bleeding-edge materials, many invented and manufactured just for this aircraft. The manufacturing discoveries and technological gains have already started spilling over into an advantage for the U.S.

    Just as the US space program and NASA made SpaceX possible, so too will the knowledge, manufacturing technologies, and intellectual talent from the F35 spill over into a US advantage for decades to come.

    (By-the-way, you have no idea the drones being spawned from these technologies. It is quite frightening…)

  10. I love Elon, but:

    Apples and oranges.

    Musk was able to hire scores of engineers who had experience in the rocket sciences and wanted to escape the drudgery of working for NASA/aerospace companies that did nothing but spin their wheels and rain money down into important congressional / senate districts and states.

    And just as important, the F35 is magnitudes of order more complicated than orbital rockets. Rockets aren't made from 'stealth' laminates, don't have weapons systems, don't have defensive systems, and don't need AI/computers constantly assessing threats from the Russian or Chinese communists (or whatever other other evil government is threatening to subjugate humanity)…

  11. Every additional F-35 is cheaper than the previous one. They need to continuously procure them until they have the replacement fighters in production.

  12. It's a pity that there is no "Tesla" of fighter jets. Also, they should make drone fighter jets.. I really cannot believe that a human in the cockpit is actually an advantage in a dog fight today….and neither when bombing targets..

    And, you can build and crash prototypes quickly without jeopardizing human lives..

  13. The F-117 wasn't really a fighter, it was a ground attack plane. I don't know why it has an "f" designation instead of "a".

  14. They should not stop building F-35 till they have a firm design going to production of a replacement, just like what happened with the F-22 This is a national security issue, we are in a serious arm race and cannot afford to stutter with fighter jet production or with any military equipment to that matter.

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