Tactical Aircraft: Air Force Fighter Reports Generally Addressed Congressional Mandates, but Reflected Dated Plans and Guidance, and Limited Analyses
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The Air Force expects to invest over 230 billion to operate, maintain, modernize, and recapitalize its tactical air forces during fiscal years 2011 through 2015.1 This makes up nearly 70 percent of the Department of Defenses DOD total expected tactical aircraft investment over that time. Despite this large investment, the Air Force continues to project that its inventory of fighter and attack aircraft will drop below required levels and that those shortfalls will persist through at least 2030. However, the timing and magnitude of projected shortfalls continue to fluctuate. In April 2008, senior Air Force leaders testified before Congress that they expected the Air Force fighter shortfall to peak at about 800 aircraft in the mid-2020s. Since that time the Air Force has reduced its overall requirement and adjusted its assumptions about Joint Strike Fighter JSF procurement and the viability of legacy aircraft. As a result, the Air Force now expects its shortfall to peak at about 200 aircraft.