USAF Fighters: Dwindling Purchases, Rising Age

USAF Fighter Purchases and Average Age

USAF Fighter Purchases and Average Age

Found at Air Force Magazine.


  1. It’s not just age, it’s the hours. Since 1999 we has been engaged almost continually in combat operations which is causing planes to reach their service lives sooner. If a plane is designed for 8,000 hours, it doesn’t matter if it is 5, 15, 25 years old. When it hits 8,000 hours, it needs replaced.

  2. I’m as big a hawk as you will find, but I don’t think this is necessarily all bad news.

    I bet if we plotted our combat effectiveness versus the rest of the world over the same time line, our current advantage is MUCH greater than through the 60’s and 70’s, and probably even the early 80’s.

    So in some ways, it doesn’t make sense to spend as much as we did back then. We’re so much more efficient, we’re getting more bang for the buck these days.

    In other words, put a 20 year old US plane up against a 5 year old Chinese or Russian (or even European ) jet, and there is still no match.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t be diligent, and keep pushing the envelope. But fleet age and number of planes bought per year isn’t a really meaningful metric, IMO.

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