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Average Age of USAF Aircraft Drops Slightly, But Eight Fleets Now Exceed 50 Years Old

December 1, 2021

From the Air Force Magazine website

U.S. Air Force photograph via National Archives

Purchases of new F-35 fighters, KC-46 tankers, and C-130 transports in recent years have made only a small dent in the age of the Air Force’s fleet, down to 29.1 years across all types after hitting 30.55 years in 2020. But the service operates eight fleets exceeding an average of 50 years, and one—the KC-135—now exceeds 60.

According to data supplied to Air Force Magazine, the AT-38/T-38 trainers, the B-52 bomber, and aircraft based on the C-135 series—the KC-135, NC-135, RC-135, TC-135, and WC-135—are all in their mid-to-late 50s, with the KC-135 ringing in at 60.35 years of age. The B-52 is not far behind the Stratotanker, with an average age of 59.8 years. The data were current as of Sep. 30, the end of fiscal 2021.

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