September 30, 2013
With across-the-board U.S. budget cuts becoming the new norm, and as the largest equipment category inside the Pentagon's budget, entire types of aircraft now are being weighed for their military value faster than in living memory.
This month several U.S. Air Force officers, from the chief of staff on down, stressed that the service wants to protect spending on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, KC-46A aerial refueling tanker and the proposed Long-Range Strike Bomber. In turn, they are willing to divest whole fleets like the KC-10, A-10 and MC-12W (AW&ST Sept. 23, p. 31). Overall, the USAF could cut about 550 aircraft, or 9% of its total inventory.