Mr. Trump: We Need F-35s Built Faster, Not Fewer

By David Deptula, December 13, 2016

Today’s United States Air Force faces a stark challenge: securing the sky in the face of ever increasing threats. Decades of deferred investment and an increasingly unstable world make this a critical issue facing the new Trump administration. Over 3/4 of the current Air Force fighter fleet is comprised of 1960s and 1970s designs that average well over a quarter of a century old. Too few modern, 5th generation F-22s and F-35s exist to meet the basic demands of the U.S. national security strategy. [Read about the F-22’s impending deployment to Australia]. Sequestration and recent decisions by Congress to limit F-35 procurement in fiscal year 2017 make the issue worse. Bottom line: The nation needs to accelerate its fighter modernization to meet its security demands.

1 Comment

  1. Bobby Komlo

    We need to replace all A-10s & various F-16s with the -35. I have told my congressman, even with Moody AFB in our district AND a base for A-10s, that the Warthog needs replaced. Could be Moody gets hit by the next BRAC but that is the by-product of slimming down and getting more bang for the buck. Also, the issue on not enough wrench-turners was on AFA daily page & is another very significant reason to retire the A-10: “The Air Force expects to get its maintenance manning back to 100 percent by 2020 or 2021, after being short 4,000 maintainers just three and a half years ago. Lt. Gen. John Cooper, deputy chief of staff for logistics, engineering, and force protection, said the Air Force’s decision to move critical accession manpower to maintenance has already had an impact, with the current shortage sitting at about 3,400 billets. The maintenance training pipeline has increased dramatically, but the decision is “squeezing the balloon,” moving one shortfall to another, Cooper said. Because of the increase in new maintainers, the Air Force will be able to fill the billets but they will all be young, inexperienced airmen. The service is “solving the quantity problem, we have to work on the quality problem,” Cooper said at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast in Arlington, Va. The service is also addressing the manning shortfall in the F-35 community with a temporary fix to hire private contractors to provide maintenance in training squadrons, and having Active Duty maintainers work in combat squadrons. The dollar value of the two are about equal, Cooper said.”


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