USAF outlines spending cuts and new strategy
By Daniel Wasserbly
Top US Air Force (USAF) officials have unveiled new details of their scheme to reduce planned spending and shift towards the Pentagon's new defence strategy.
In Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) the service expects to save USD8.7 billion across its active-duty and reserve components by retiring more than 200 aircraft and over the course of a five-year spending plan intends to retire a total of 286 aircraft, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley told reporters at the Pentagon on 3 February.
He said the USAF would also drop its end strength by 9,900 airmen: 3,900 from active-duty personnel, 5,100 from the National Guard and 900 from the Reserves.
Of the aircraft set for divestment, 123 are fighters, 133 are mobility platforms and 30 are intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets.
"Our smaller force structure has led us to favour divesting niche fleets: smaller fleets that involved specialised training and sustainment," Donley said. The service expects to retain and emphasise "multirole capabilities that will provide for operational flexibility across the spectrum of conflict" and seek more common configurations for its remaining fleets, he added.
Specifically, the USAF plans to retire or reclassify aircraft from seven squadrons, one of which is based overseas. These comprise five A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support squadrons, one F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft squadron and one training/support-coded F-15 Aggressor squadron, according to a fact sheet released on 3 February.233 of 692 words
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