In Episode 125 of the Aerospace Advantage, Fighters on the Brink: ANG Flightline Perspective, Doug Birkey discusses a looming capacity cliff with Maj Gen Paul Rogers, the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard; Brig Gen Tim Donnellan, Commander of the Idaho Air National Guard; along with Lt Gen Dave Deptula, USAF (Ret.) and Heather Penney of the Mitchell Institute.
The Air Force needs new fighters, and it needs them fast. When the Cold War ended, defense leaders cut the Air Force’s fighter inventory by half. Service officials were willing to assume this risk because they were expecting to procure a new generation of highly capable fighters in the form of the F-22 and F-35. The problem is that this plan fell apart. We never bought enough F-22s, and F-35 production hasn’t hit the levels required to reset the inventory. Remember those F-15s that were pulled from Kadena last year—because they were worn out—without a direct replacement? That was a powerful indicator about the scale of the current capacity challenge. The Air Force’s fighter enterprise is literally collapsing, and even though the service is planning on buying 72 jets this year, inventories are so strained that this number falls short. This is a total force problem impacting active duty, reserve, and the Air National Guard.
Host: Douglas Birkey, Executive Director, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies
Producer: Shane Thin
Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey
Guest: Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean, The Mitchell Institute
Guest: Heather Penney, Senior Fellow, The Mitchell Institute
Guest: Maj Gen Paul Rogers, Adjutant General, Michigan National Guard
Guest: Brig Gen Timothy Donnellan, Commander, Idaho Air National Guard