Air Force plans to retire 150 planes, including some Warthogs, but adds F-15s in its nearly $170 billion proposed budget for 2023

An A-10 Thunderbolt II, known as “Warthog,” from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, flies alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to RAF Mildenhall, England, Sept. 9, 2015, above Estonia. The Air Force is seeking to get rid of 150 aircraft, including 21 Warthogs, according to its proposed $169.5 billion fiscal year 2023 budget released Monday, March 28, 2022. (Justine Rho/US Air Force)

The Air Force is seeking to shed 150 aircraft, including 21 Warthogs, and add 24 F-15 fighter jets for the Pacific region, according to its proposed $169.5 billion budget for the 2023 financial year published on Monday.

The requested spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 increases the service’s budget by $13.2 billion from its request the previous year, the service said.

The increase in funding, which is around 8% after inflation is removed, also boosts spending on future technologies and salary increases for both military and civilians.

The Air Force request was rolled out Monday as part of the Pentagon’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 of $773 billion, which asks Congress to remain focused on limiting China’s military while controlling Russia’s aggression in Europe and giving troops a 4.6% pay raise.

Air Force funding decisions were based on seven “operational imperatives” identified by Service Secretary Frank Kendall and directed to the Department of the Air Force as a whole, which includes the Space Force.

“These imperatives reflect the core capabilities and functions we must invest in to ensure the United States’ ability to deter conflict, project power, and prevail in high-level combat,” the deputy said. Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones during Monday’s budget presentation.

The Air Force budget adds $2.7 billion over the previous year in procurement, with about $1.4 billion earmarked for 24 F-15 EX fighter jets. In 2022, the service added 12.

“It really comes after the fact that we’re retiring all F-15 Cs and Ds by 2026. We’re replacing that capability faster, especially in the South China Sea,” Maj. Gen. James D. Peccia said. III, Deputy Assistant. budget secretary.

The Air Force also plans to divest 21 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets, known as Warthogs, in this proposed budget, which will be replaced by F-16 Fighting Falcon jets, said Jones.

“We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that, again, we have the right mix of aircraft that are survivable, efficient, and can provide our Airmen or Guardians with the best chance of winning them over in the [Indo-Pacific Command.] The A-10 is just limited in its ability to contribute to this fight,” she said.

The request funds an eventual strength of 323,400 active-duty Airmen, down from the 329,220 authorized in 2022. However, the Air Force said it now has approximately 323,305 personnel, it will therefore gain another 95 airmen more than it currently has. .

The request also calls for a reduction of 300 airmen from the reserve force to 70,000, and an increase of 100 members of the National Guard, increasing it to 108,400 personnel.

That number of troops would cost about $39.3 billion, or 23% of the service’s budget.

The Air Force requested a $4.6 billion increase in research, development, test and evaluation, bringing the total to $33.4 billion. This increase allowed for increased spending on ground-based strategic deterrence, long-range ranged weapons, and hypersonic weapon development.

Additionally, the service has funded approximately 1.1 million flight hours and added $16 million for diversity and inclusion scholarships for aviation cadet training. It has also dedicated more funds to climate initiatives and improving the sexual assault and harassment program.


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