Only the Navy Gets Bridge Aircraft

The Pentagon’s latest Aircraft Procurement Plan notes that both the Air Force and Navy will experience a shortage of tactical aircraft in the coming decade. However, only the Navy will get aircraft procurement supplements to fill the gap. Due to its inventory shortfall, “the Navy will buy 67 F/A-18E/F aircraft” from Fiscal 2012 to Fiscal 2014 and the sea service will extend the tenure of its F/A-18Ds with structural and systems patches, states the Pentagon’s report to Congress. Though the Air Force will fall some 200 aircraft short of needed tactical aircraft, it will “mitigate its shortfall until the 2020s via investments in the F-16 force,” reads the document. (2011 Aircraft Investment Plan)