4 types of American fighter aircraft will maintain for future wars, cutting down from 7 existing types. It’s part of a strategy to adjust as the United States reorients itself to new adversaries.
The US Air Force is adjusting and reducing its fighter force to cope with the new situation. With the current seven fighters too expensive to maintain, the US wants to shrink to four in the coming decades.
In September, two of the Air Force’s highest-ranking officers warned in a videoconference that the service is running out of time to develop the new assets and capabilities it needs to stay ahead of emerging threats.
I am concerned that tomorrow’s pilots won’t have what they need to protect their country if we don’t change now. We are out of time,” said Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements.
Like the rest of the US military, the Air Force is transitioning from counterterrorism operations over the past two decades to competing with its peers.
According to General Charles Brown Jr., Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, China is one of the biggest challenges because Beijing currently possesses the largest air force in the Indo-Pacific region and a large navy 2nd powerful after US Navy.
Top commanders say that if the US Air Force wants to maintain its decades-old global dominance, it will have to restructure its fighter fleet.
“We will have to get away with keeping seven squadrons of fighter jets active. It’s too expensive, too many fleets. It is necessary to target a modern fighter force with four distinct platforms,” said Clinton Hinote.
Specifically, the US Air Force wants to retire the F-15C (pictured) and F-15D models because they are too old. In addition, the A-10 ground attack aircraft will be retired by 2030.
Generally speaking Four types of fighter aircraft the US will maintain for future wars include F-22, F-35, F-15E/EX, and F-16.
The F-22 and F-35 are America’s two most advanced fifth-generation fighters in the fleet. The F-22 was introduced in 2005 and the F-35 was introduced in 2016.
They were originally designed to work in parallel. If the F-22 excels in air superiority, focusing on aerial combat, the F-35 is extremely versatile with its ability to connect across the battlefield
F-35s are still being built, but the US stopped production of the F-22 in 2011, largely due to budget constraints and the absence of a sophisticated threat.
The US Air Force plans to upgrade and keep about 180 F-22s in service until around 2030. At that point, the replacement will be sixth-generation fighters from the Next Generation Airborne Advantage (NGAD) program.
In addition, the F-15 family of jets remains among the most capable and successful aircraft in the world.
In the most recent upgraded versions, the F-15E is a highly capable air-to-air and air-to-ground fighter. And the F-15EX0, officially named Eagle II, is equipped with modern electronics
Meanwhile, the F-16, the longtime favorite of the US Air Force, will remain in service but focus on a different role. Upgraded and remodeled F-16s will add capacity to the border guard squadron.
All of the above aims to avoid the risk that American experts have pointed out, that is, using fifth-generation fighters to fire fourth-generation weapons to counter the threat of sixth-generation fighters.