In his Air Force days, Muellner was the top blue-suit acquisition official, and also the “father” of the Joint Strike Fighter; he was the director of the program that established joint requirements for what is now the F-35. His observation: If we were starting the JSF today, it would be a much different airplane. Range and persistence would be a bigger factor. The world is very different than it was in 1993.” Full disclosure: Muellner’s company, Boeing, lost out in the JSF competition.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.