U.S. Air Force retiring 33 F-22 while ordering more F-15EX

USAF F-22 and F-15
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The U.S. The military wants to retire 250 military planes, including the 5th generation fighter F-22 Raptor from service.

The Pentagon has issued its most recent budget request, demanding a whopping $773 billion in overall funding for the fiscal year 2023. This is about $31 billion more than the current fiscal year’s total for the Department of Defense. The Pentagon has issued its most recent budget request, demanding a whopping $773 billion in overall funding for the fiscal year 2023. This is about $31 billion more than the current fiscal year’s total for the Department of Defense. 

Among them, the operation of the Air Force is more interesting, intending to retire 33 F-22s and purchase 24 F-15EXs. The F-22s planned for retirement are all older Block 20 versions and have largely been relegated to perform training and other non-combat missions. The retirement of these 33 F-22s will reduce the total F-22A fleet size from about 186 to about 153.

The Air Force has said it wants to retire the entire Raptor fleet in the next few years. While phasing out the fifth-generation fighter F-22, the U.S. Air Force intends to purchase more 4.5th generation fighters such as the F-15EX. The Air Force wants to buy 24 F-15EX fighter jets. Of course, the F-35 is also a procurement focus. The US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are seeking to purchase a total of 61 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, including 33 F-35As for the Air Force, 15 F-35Bs and four F-35Cs for the Marine Corps, and 9 F-35C for the Navy. That’s 24 fewer F-35s than the trio of F-35s requested in the 2022 budget request and ultimately funded for the purchase. 

The Air Force also said it was looking to slow down the purchase of the F-35A until the more advanced Block 4 configuration arrives, which is still in development. Additionally, the US Air Force is seeking to stop buying MQ-9 Reaper drones.

The U.S. Air Force is not interested in the F-22 fighter, which has problems in positioning itself. This is one of the reasons why the F-22 has had a very low sense of existence for many years. The top fighters with high maintenance costs eventually fell to the point of often eating ashes in the hangar, and even the F-35 fighters.

The U.S. Air Force’s future six-generation aircraft program will be limited if it continues to keep the F-22 fighter jet. After the failure of the F-35, the U.S. Navy and Air Force have once again parted ways in the development of the sixth-generation aircraft. The U.S. Navy has also proposed its own sixth-generation aircraft project and is seeking funding.

According to Peccia, the military requested $1.65 billion for the Next Generation Air Dominance program, a $133 million increase that primarily funds improved sensors and resilient communications equipment linked with the sixth-generation fighter.

The Air Force also set aside $113 million for “advanced collaborative platforms,” which are the Air Force’s new terminology for “Loyal Wingman” style drones that will complement the NGAD and the B-21.

The B-21 Raider program entered the procurement phase this year with a $1.7 billion request, however, Peccia did say how many stealth bombers would be procured for that amount, as reflecting the program’s confidentiality.

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