Pentagon wants to scrap dozens of F-22 fighter jets — Analysis

Air Force wants to retire F-22 Raptors. Upgrades would be prohibitively costly, so they are looking at retiring them.

US military will retire 33 F-22 Raptors to make room for new designs and research. However, the Air Force warns that the expensive upgrades required to keep the planes operational in combat are too costly.

The Pentagon wants to send the nearly three-dozen fighters to the ‘boneyard’ at Davis-Monthan air base in Tucson, Arizona, hoping to use the funds it would save for R&D under the ‘Next-Generation Air Dominance’ program, Defense News reported on Monday. If backed by Congress, the move would down-size the US’ total F-22 fleet from 186 to 153 jets. 

Plans to move the craft to Virginia from Eglin AFB in Florida have been on pause for more than three years, and the Air Force has stated that the older F-22s currently used for training would simply be too expensive to keep in fighting shape, according to the branch’s deputy assistant budget secretary Maj. Gen. James Peccia. The Air Force prefers to invest in newer aircraft, as these upgrades will cost almost $2 billion each year.

Ann Stefanek (Air Force spokesperson) stated that F-22s remaining would remain at base in Virginia, Hawaii and Florida.

Biden proposes largest-ever US military budget

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, meanwhile, said he does not foresee any additional F-22 retirements anytime soon, calling the craft the military’s “premier air-to-air combat platform.”

As the White House seeks to reduce spending on research and development, it proposes the US’ largest ever military budget. It will request $813.3 billion for the following year. This is $31 billion less than the 2022 approval. The proposal includes $682 million in military aid for Ukraine, as well as a 9.5% boost in R&D funding, putting the total over $130 billion. The Army, Navy, and Marines may see an overall reduction of around 4,300 personnel. However, 200 additional troops will be added to the Air Force.

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