Boeing completed the final overhaul of an Air Force aircraft, an E-4B National Airborne Operations Center platform, at its plant in Wichita, Kan., before the facility closes. “Our division is responsible for ensuring the safe operation of some extremely important aircraft and we’ve always answered that charge,” said Zane Boatright, Air Force Life Cycle Management deputy chief for special-mission aircraft, reported the Wichita Eagle on May 29. “We know that is due in large part to the tremendous support we have received there,” he added. Boeing is shifting depot-level maintenance for the Air Force’s 747-based E-4B and VC-25 presidential fleets to a purpose-built facility in San Antonio. The Wichita facility, which famously produced B-29 bombers during World War II, opened in 1927. (See also The B-29’s Battle of Kansas from the archives of Air Force Magazine.)
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.