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Is the USAF Over the Hill?

Written by on Thursday, June 7th, 2012

We can debate relative power of national military forces all day, but most people would agree that the United States has some of the most powerful military organizations, weapons, and defense systems on the planet. Most would even argue that the US tops out in the number one spot for any military category you care to name. The United States Air Force has been a military behemoth for years, but some military analysts fear that it’s all about to change.

Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst for the nonprofit Lexington Institute, believes that the USAF’s years have finally caught up to it. Or, to phrase it more accurately, the USAF’s “fleet is getting old.” Thompson describes the problem, “What has happened to the Air Force is a gradual aging process made worse by its inability to successfully carry out major weapons programs.”

Why is this happening? At its core, it boils down to two problems: the USAF has not been upgrading its existing equipment quickly enough and it has not acquired modern aircraft in the numbers it needs to stay competitive when compared to other nations. For example, the USAF originally had its eyes on 750 F-22 fighter jets, but they only acquired 187. Likewise, they had to cut their purchase of 132 stealthy B-2 bombers down to a mere 21, about one-sixth of their intended goal.

Those of you who have seen the widely despised movie Battlefield buy cheap cialis no rx Earth will remember a scene wherein the heroes find Harrier jets that have been sitting around without any maintenance for a full millienium. They hopped in these aircraft and used them to take down their alien oppressors. As nice as it would be to have military aircraft that worked like that, this plot hole is so big that you could fly a fleet of 1000-year-old jets through it. Realistically, fighter jets only have an average lifespan of about 25 years, and that’s assuming that they don’t take any damage.

The clock is ticking, and the USAF simply hasn’t had the money it needs to replace its aging fleet. Thompson and 100 other USAF officials came to this conclusion during this year’s Corona, a meeting intended to tackle major issues facing the Air Force.

Luckily, the Air Force isn’t about to retire and move to Florida. Ron Fry,  spokesman for the Air Force Material Command assures the public that DoD resources “are appropriately targeted to promote agile, flexible and cost-effective forces.” I’m pretty sure that’s government lingo for “we’re doing the best we can for our budget.” The USAF intends to keep its position as the top dog in military aviation combat, even if it does require them to stretch their budget. Fry adds, “It is our intent, and our obligation, to the American people to remain the world’s finest Air Force in the decades ahead.”

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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