The “serene indifference” shown by the public and the 2008 Presidential candidates to the fate of US airpower has “an expiration date,” declares Air Force Magazine Editor in Chief Robert S. Dudney in his latest editorial. He points out that the Air Force has warned that it faces a shortage of 800 fighters by 2017 and that it is putting more and more of its scarce dollars into maintaining an increasingly geriatric fleet. And, the Air Force’s problems are not just with fighters, but with airlifters and tankers and other aircraft and with a forced reduction of airmen. As Dudney notes, “the next President, on Inauguration Day, will confront some nasty, complex, and unavoidable problems, as President Bush hands over a force pushed to near-collapse by underfunding and overuse.” Dudney outlines a series of questions to bring the candidates up to speed and “kick start a process of educating the public.” Read the May editorial “Questions for the Candidates.”
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.