An Aircraft Investment Plan through 2040 reportedly submitted to Congress along with the Fiscal 2011 budget is not meant to be a definitive schedule, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. In an interview with the Daily Report Wednesday, Schwartz explained: “I think it is a plan for the department. It is not a contract. But I think it gives the Hill a sense of what the general themes are.” Schwartz specifically corrected one aspect of the plan, which asserts that an F-22 air superiority replacement would be required around 2025, versus a new bomber that Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday will be along in “the late 2020s.” Schwartz said, “I think the Long Range Strike platform will certainly precede an F-22 replacement, in my view.” (Aircraft Investment Plan)
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.