Other Fighter News

The Air Force program cuts announced April 6 (see above and The Air Force Cut List) by Defense Secretary Robert Gates include retirement in Fiscal 2010 of 250 fighters from the service’s current fleet of legacy aircraft. Last year the service broached the idea—initially positing a larger number—causing some consternation among Air National Guard supporters, since the Air Guard faces a shortage of aircraft to sustain the homeland air sovereignty mission. However, Gates said he wants to speed up procurement of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, due to replace F-16s and A-10s, and now plans to buy 513 over the five-year defense plan. That would boost the yearly buy from around 48 to about 102, something that Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz has said would help address upcoming fighter shortfalls.