The Extent of the Problem

The Air National Guard currently has 10 units flying Block 30 F-16s that Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, ANG director, told lawmakers last week will age out by 2017. (See above, Air Guard Aircraft Crisis Nears) Those 10 units fly a total of roughly 180 fighters, said Wyatt. The Air Force now projects that the Total Force will have a fighter gap of some 135 aircraft around 2017; however, Wyatt noted, “The risk is greater for the Air National Guard,” because it “has a preponderance of the older airplanes.” He said the Air Guard continues to work with USAF to address the gap, considering a service life extension program (SLEP) for the older fighters but not purchase of so-called 4.5 generation aircraft. A SLEP would extend the legacy F-16s for another four to five years, said Wyatt, but he added that so far there’s no money on the table. Continue