Fighter Force Squeeze

The Air Force will face a fighter shortfall of three to five percent—up to 100 airframes—over the next five fiscal years, said senior service officials. That estimate is based on the service’s “moderate-risk fighter force structure requirement of 1,200 primary mission aircraft and 2,000 total aircraft,” stated Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, military deputy to USAF’s acquisition executive, and Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Air Staff lead for requirements, in joint prepared remarks submitted to House lawmakers this week. The Air Force established this requirement during the Pentagon’s review of programs in support of the Fiscal 2012 budget build. “F-35 program status remains the key variable in the fighter force structure forecast,” they wrote. A new fighter force structure review is under way “and will provide modified fighter shortfall numbers within the next several months,” they stated. (Shackelford-Carlisle prepared testimony) (See also Defining the Tacair Shortfall from the Daily Report archives.)