Old Aircraft Must Make Way for New, Sometime

The question becomes how soon. Lawmakers already told the Air Force “hands off” three legacy systems for Fiscal 2006. According to news reports, though, the service is eyeing out-year retirements for B-52, F-117, and U-2 aircraft to free up funds for new and remaining systems. Estimates of the savings vary. USAF plans to move up to 2008 retirement of the entire fleet of F-117 stealth fighters. It would cut half the B-52 bomber force and definitely has nixed a BUFF jammer. And, it would retire all U-2 reconnaissance aircraft by 2011. Congress, of course, could pull a B-1B maneuver, forcing USAF to retain some or all of these aircraft.