via Flight Global.
At a time when budget constraints are driving the US Air Force to divest fighter and attack aircraft faster than they can be replaced with the Lockheed Martin F-35, outgoing chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh says it would not be a “wild idea” to resume production of an improved version of the F-22 Raptor air superiority jet.Why is it always at the end of service do we start getting whiffs of the truth from the General Officer Corps?
The Pentagon’s latest aviation inventory and funding plan says the flying branch has “insufficient resources” to maintain the 1,900 warplane level mandated by Congress beyond the current five-year budget blueprint that extends to fiscal year 2021.
The number of combat-coded fighter jets and their associated squadrons “will substantially drop” between 2022 and 2026 before hitting its lowest level in 2031 as the Fairchild Republic A-10 "Warthog" and other long-serving fighters are retired to the boneyard.
Asked about solutions to reverse this trend at an Air Force Association forum in Washington DC on 26 May, the outgoing chief of staff says money is the main issue. America, he says, needs to decide if it wants to continue to be a globally deployed superpower in the next 20, 30 or 50 years and then fund its military accordingly.
Welsh is heading out the door and now he tells us that restarting the F-22 line wouldn't be a bad idea?
Just plain wow.