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Sun, Mar 19, 2023

2024 USAF Budget Makes Tough, 'Uncool' Choices

A-10s, F-22s on the Outs with Orders for F-35s, KC-36s, and F-15EXs

The Air Force's FY2024 budget of 215 billion appears to have made some harsh selections in fleet sizing, with plans to eliminate 32 Block 20 F22A Raptors, 57 F-15C and D model Eagles, and 42 A-10 Warthogs.

The budget also looks to buy 14 KC-46A Pegasus tankers, 7 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters, 24 F-15EX Eagle IIs, 48 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, and a single E-11A BACN. The choice to slash the fleets of two enthusiast favorites, the A-10 and F-22, will likely be a hard pill to swallow for some. The F-22s slated for retirement are currently used as training and exercise aircraft, and will leave only 151 aircraft in Air Force hands after divestiture.

The A-10 has long been a point of contention for the Force, with 21 of the type being divested in 2023 already. Should the plans for 2024 move forward as requested, the fleet will remain around 218 strong, in line with USAF goals to do away with the A-10 altogether over the next decade.

Aside from the well-known, popular, "cool" aircraft like the Raptor and Warthog, the Air Force will be offloading a number of aircraft, 310 in all. Block 1 MQ-9 Reapers, HH-60G Pavehawks, E-3 Sentry's, EC-130H/Js, and T-1A Jayhawk trainers are also on their way out. The last of the E-8C JSTARS will exit stage left, too, among the other electronic warfare aircraft as they make way for newer, more advanced kit. Of particular interest to the COIN enthusiasts is the retirement of a trio of A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which likely signals the end of their Air Force evaluation.

FMI: www.af.mil

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