A Respite from the Readiness Crisis

JB Langley-Eustis, Va. The Air Force is dealing with a readiness crisis that leaders say impacts the service’s ability to conduct the “high-end” fight, but it isn’t evenly spread across all of aircraft communities. The F-22s with the 1st Fighter Wing here are “ready” for what comes next because the Raptors have been able to sustain training for the high-end threat despite tight budgets, wing commander Col. Peter Fesler said. The greater Air Force can sustain the current fight, but may not be able to fight simultaneous wars, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said recently. However, Fesler said his F-22 community is ready. “Some other platforms have been so focused on lower intensity conflict, so their skill set in the high end has atrophied. They didn’t have the excess capacity to focus on the next war,” Fesler told Air Force Magazine. He added, “We’re ready to go. We’re ready for what might come.” F-22s have been deployed for daily operations in Operation Inherent Resolve, while flying regular high-end training exercises such as Atlantic Trident this month at Langley. But there is always an insatiable demand for more training, Fesler said. “In general, we would always like to fly more sorties,” he said. “We’d always like to train harder.”