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USAF Weighs Future Of KC-10, A-10 Programs

Considering Cuts In Other Programs As Well If Budgets Continue To Shrink

As the U.S. Air Force looks for potentially billions in budget cuts over the next decade, entire fleets of airplanes may be scrapped in order to keep new systems in the pipeline, according to top Air Force brass.

While AF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh (pictured) did not mention specific aircraft that could be eliminated in an interview with Air Force Times, he did say that the way to obtain substantial savings was to cut the entire fleet and the infrastructure that supports that particular airplane. Cutting some planes but continuing to maintain others, he said, does not reach the necessary reduction levels.

He said that the service is looking at its five core missions and determining "where we must recapitalize versus where we can modernize."

The questions arose out of whether sequestration will continue into the foreseeable future. Each branch of the military is reportedly preparing two budgets for FY2015 ... one that accounts for cuts due to sequestration and one that does not.

In a Strategic Choices and Management Review, the DoD determined that the Air Force could cut as many as five tactical squadrons.

Even if the Air Force decides to cut the A-10 fleet, a move that would likely face stiff opposition in Congress, it might not stop flying. The Army has expressed interested in acquiring the jets.

Another program that could face elimination is the KC-10, based on the DC-10 jetliner, along with cuts in the F-15C Eagle fleet. Also facing an uncertain future is the Combat Rescue Helicopter program. Sikorsky was the only company to bid on that program, but no contract has been awarded.

FMI: www.af.mil

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