When Hurricane Irene took a turn toward JB Langley-Eustis, Va., at the end of August, Air Force officials knew they couldn’t risk such an expensive and critical national asset. They had less than 24 hours to get 28 fifth generation fighters to dry ground. It was the largest evacuation ever for the F-22 fleet and not an easy one either considering Raptors across the Air Force have been grounded since early May due to safety concerns over the aircraft’s on-board oxygen-generation system. “In my 23-year career, this is one of the days I actually will really remember, just because it was one of the most momentous things to see our airmen just act like it was another day at work,” Col. Kevin Robbins, commander of the 1st Fighter Wing, told the Daily Report in a telephone interview from Langley. Click here to continue reading the full story.
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.