Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley explained to lawmakers last week cuts to personnel, depot maintenance, and even flying hours are necessary to fund investment accounts. (See above.) However, as we reported Friday, Moseley now believes that the use of simulators to substitute for actual flying has “reached the limit.” Unfortunately, the problem here is not just lack of funding. The service’s plan to reduce flying hours by 10 percent also has to do with an inability to provide aircraft for combat training. “Because our airplanes are so old, we’re having problems generating the sorties,” explained Moseley, adding that the maintainers simply cannot generate the number of sorties a squadron operations officer believes is required to produce combat-ready pilots. “We have continued to dumb down the standard until we’ve reached a point where we are not producing the sorties, nor are we producing the total combat preparation that I’m comfortable with.”
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.