A few months ago, the future of the US Air Force, at least in its official strategy, boiled down to 2 aircraft for its fighter component: the F35A which was to represent the bulk of its tactical air force. with more than 1700 aircraft, as well as the F22, as well as its replacement from the Next Generation Air Dominance or NGAD program, for air superiority. But many events have occurred in recent years, leading the powerful American air force to re-evaluate its needs, and therefore its equipment strategy. Thus during his congressional hearing on the sidelines of discussions around the Pentagon's 2022 budget, General Brown, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, presented a new format for 2030, based not on 2 aircraft, but on 5, among which 3 of the main aircraft that were to be replaced by the F35A, namely the F15, F16 and A10. And if the F35A is still presented as the backbone of the US air force, the acceleration of the NGAD program to replace the 187 F22s currently in service, induces a profound paradigm shift.
Indeed, the F22 is today the most powerful aircraft of the air fighter fleet of the US Air Force, but also of the United States, and even of the planet. It is also the most recent, apart from the F35A of course, since the last F22 to come out of Lockheed-Martin production lines was delivered to the US Air Force only 9 years ago, in 2012. Why, under these conditions, decide to withdraw from the service this indisputable asset, even though the legacy systems, Legacy systems in English, like the A10 and the F16, which were until now the principal target of the planning of the USAF, see themselves them extended beyond 2030? The answer to this question is complex, and requires some clarification.
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