The Air Force could keep flying F-22 Raptors to nearly 2060, based on current usage and assuming the service keeps flying them until the very last hour of service life is exhausted. The F-22 was designed for a service life of 8,000 hours, and the structural retrofit plan now in progress is meant to ensure it gets there, according to information provided by USAF in response to a query from Air Force Magazine. Annual usage is expected to be about 225 hours per airplane, and 32,500 annual fleet hours. “There is no program of record” to go beyond 8,000 equivalent flying hours, an Air Force spokeswoman said, and assuming attrition of about one airplane per year—typical for USAF planning and about twice the actual F-22 loss rate to date—the last jet would age-out in mid-2059. However, USAF will be down to just two squadrons’ worth of Raptors in about 2053, and it may stop flying them well before that point, if logistics costs outweigh the operational utility of such a small number. The F-22 tooling was stored at the program’s termination, and could be reactivated. The “life-limiting structure” on the jet is the “lower centerline of Frame 4 on the aft fuselage,” the spokeswoman said. While USAF has not set a date for an F-22 replacement, the Air Dominance 2030 study, now underway, will characterize the air dominance solution for the 2030s and beyond. (See also The Last Raptor from the February 2012 issue of Air Force Magazine.)
Dec. 5, 2019
An official representing Air Force landlord Balfour Beatty Communities told lawmakers Dec. 5 the company will refund performance bonuses if it finds its employees committed fraud.
Dec. 5, 2019
The US Air Force, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and a Japanese construction company on Dec. 5 broke ground on a new, $63 million permanent home for special operations CV-22 Ospreys at Yokota AB, Japan. Yokota will host 10 of the aircraft for “long-range infiltration and exfiltration missions” along…
The chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are still hashing out differences between their chambers’ versions of the fiscal 2020 defense policy bill, offering conflicting opinions on when that work may end as their days in session dwindle.
The Pentagon is considering deploying additional forces to the Middle East—a move it considers a “prudent” step to deter Iranian aggression. The deployment would be part of a dynamic response to ongoing threats in the region, the Defense Department's head of policy told lawmakers on Dec. 5.
Dec. 4, 2019
Air Force officials will gather more information on a future aircraft fleet to replace the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center, also known as the “Nightwatch” or “Doomsday” plane, at an industry day in February 2020. The service’s fiscal 2020 budget request noted that the Defense Department could choose one airframe…
Dec. 4, 2019
Our Daily Report launches today with a new look and feel designed to adapt to whatever device you’re using. Today also marks the launch of an all-new AirForceMag.com, with more and larger photos, improved search and navigation, and easier access to history content and documents, like our database of USAF…
Dec. 4, 2019
The Air Force is gearing up to host its inaugural “Pitch Bowl” in March 2020, an event that will bring together the best ideas from the growing pool of Pitch Days where companies try to snag a military contract without the years-long wait of traditional procurement.
Six airmen last month became the first graduates of the new US Air Force Weapons School class aimed at training space warfighters. The new 1C6 Space Warfighter Advanced Instructor Course is aimed at providing advanced academic training to plan and “integrate space capabilities into joint operations.”
The unidentified F-16 pilot who was forced to eject during a routine landing on Dec. 2 at Kunsan AB, South Korea, “was released in good condition” after being sent to a medical center with “minor injuries,” according to the 8th Fighter Wing. “While the aircraft sustained damage after the ejection,…