Special Report

Aircraft Being Phased Out by the US Military

Maintaining air superiority is the goal of the U.S. military, and every year the U.S. government spends billions of dollars to help achieve this goal. However, in the process of keeping military aircraft up to date, some have to be retired from service to make room for the next generation. 

The Air Force is adding more to its cutting-edge arsenal of fighter jets like the F-15EX Eagle and the F-35, while others, like the F-22, are slowly being retired from service. Congress made a handful of these decisions for the coming year. (The U.S. has the largest air force in the world.)

To determine the aircraft being phased out by the U.S. Air Force in fiscal 2023, 24/7 Wall St. referenced the article “Air Force Would Reduce Fleet by 250 Old Aircraft, Bring on 82-plus New Ones,”published by industry journal Air & Space Forces Magazine. Aircraft are ranked according to the number that is planned to be phased out in fiscal 2023. Information on when these aircraft entered service, crew size, and max speed came from Military Factory, an online index of military vehicles, aircraft, and vessels.

Perhaps the biggest divestiture on this list is combat drones, which would be moved to another undisclosed government organization. The divestment of F-22s is another sizable move by the Air Force, with the reasoning being that upgrading the aircraft to full combat capability would not be cost effective considering the F-22 is set to phase out in 10 years or so. Accordingly, the savings from the F-22 divestment will be applied to the Next Generation Air Dominance (the Air Force’s air supremacy initiative)  family of systems.

Among the other aircraft being retired, the Air Force is retiring aircraft that fall under the transports, trainers, tankers, and close-air support categories. Some of these aircraft entered service back in the 1950s. (This is the U.S. Air Force’s oldest aircraft.)

Here is a look at the aircraft that the US Air Force plans to phase out in fiscal 2023.

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