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Pentagon budget 2025: US Air Force requests to divest 250 aircraft

The F-15C fleet is to be phased out in favour of the F-15EX. (US Air Force)

The US Air Force (USAF) is requesting to retire 250 aircraft in fiscal year (FY) 2025 as the service attempts to shed older aircraft to gear up for future purchases.

The largest intended divestment is of 65 Boeing F-15C/Ds, which have reached the end of their service lives. The USAF is in the process of replacing the 1980s-vintage F-15C/Ds with brand-new F-15EXs, which can fly farther, carry more, and come equipped with the latest electronics.

The service also hopes to retire 26 F-15Es. While the ground-attack version is newer than the air-superior F-15s, the USAF intends to retire the Eagle subfleet powered by Pratt & Whitney F110-PW-220s while maintaining the F110-PW-229-powered aircraft. The 220-powered aircraft are older and less capable than the 229-powered aircraft, a USAF spokesperson told reporters on 10 March.

The next-largest divestment is of 56 Boeing A-10s. The USAF has for years attempted to divest the entire A-10 fleet. The aircraft was designed in the late 1970s and lacks the survivability to operate in areas contested by modern anti-aircraft weaponry; it also lacks the range to fly the vast distances required by a conflict in the Pacific Ocean. Congress, in passing US Department of Defense (DoD) budgets, has previously attached riders preventing the aircraft's retirement.

Another major anticipated divestment is 32 Lockheed Martin F-22s. The full fleet of Block 20-standard F-22s are the oldest of the aircraft's subfleets, which USAF leadership considers combat ineffective, holding that upgrading the aircraft to modern standards would be too expensive. The retirement of Block 20 F-22s has been prevented by Congress.

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