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,

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