The blaze in New Jersey triggered by a flare from an Air National Guard F-16 on a training mission in May could cost the Air Force at least $200 million, reports The Press of Atlantic City. That is the total for 161 claims the service currently is processing from both property damage and dislocation expenses for those people forced from their homes. Some claims are still coming in. Just last month, the service received a single property damage claim for $197 million—significantly increasing the total cost. USAF has six months to investigate claim legitimacy.
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.