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Alternate Fighter Plan: Cut F-15EX, Extend F-22, Buy New Stealth Jets, More F-35s

October 30, 2021

From the Air Force Magazine website

Pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings taxi F-35As on the runway in preparation for a combat power exercise Nov. 19, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exersice, the wings confirmed their ability to employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, demonstrating the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force Photo By Cynthia Griggs)

The Air Force’s “4+1” fighter plan for the 2020s, unveiled in recent months, will leave the service with a fleet that’s too small and improperly configured to deal with peer threats. What’s needed is a plan that emphasizes stealth aircraft; rapidly retires non-stealthy and expensive-to-maintain “legacy” airplanes; and doesn’t create gaps in USAF’s ability to control the air in a conflict, according to new analysis from AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. 

Mitchell released a paper Oct. 25 offering an alternate fighter roadmap, saying the Air Force’s plan is budget-driven rather than strategy-driven.

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