The US Air Force (USAF) fiscal 2023 budget, presented by its secretary Frank Kendall, was recently sent to Congress and brings important changes regarding the aircraft fleet. The USAF’s main plan is to have more F-15EX fighters while deactivating part of the F-22 Raptor.
The advanced stealth fighter is expected to have 33 aircraft withdrawn from service, but from Block 20, which are used for training and have no combat capability. Only three of these planes would remain active, among the 153 F-22s of all versions. The USAF plans to retire the Raptor within 10 years.
Kendall proposed receiving 24 F-15EX fighters, an updated version of the Boeing jet. The reason is that the Air Force wants to accelerate the retirement of the older, far less capable F-15Cs by 2026.
As for the F-35, there was a reduction compared to 2022, when up to 48 planes were ordered. In the next fiscal year there will be 33 aircraft. The Secretary of the Air Force justified the decision on account of the Lightning II not having met the expected goals.
Instead, the USAF prefers to invest more in the F-15EX, a 4.5 generation fighter, but with a large payload capacity, in addition to accelerating the NGAD program, which will give rise to a new 6th generation fighter.
Retirement of old planes
In addition to the fighters, the USAF also intends to withdraw from service 21 A-10 attack aircraft, 15 E-3 Sentry, eight E-8, 12 C-130H, 13 KC-135 and an undisclosed number of T-1 trainers.
Among the programs that will receive funding are the B-21 Raider stealth bomber (awarded an extra investment of $1.7 billion), 15 KC-46A, 116 HH-60W helicopters and five MH-139.