Air Force Details Wide-Ranging Aircraft Adjustments
Proposed changes to the Air Force’s inventory of aircraft would affect more than 60 installations, according to a paper officials released Friday that focused primarily on impacts to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.
One facility would close under the changes, the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station. Seven others would have been left without an Air Force presence following the adjustments; however, officials crafted a “re-missioning” plan to compensate those bases for the loss of assigned aircraft.
In all, the Air Force’s plan calls for eliminating 286 aircraft over the next five years, including 227 in fiscal 2013. The aircraft reductions include 123 fighters, 133 mobility aircraft and 30 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms. Among the fighter aircraft that will be retired are 102 A-10 close-air support aircraft.
The paper details the force structure changes, including a list of aircraft reductions by type and installation, along with re-missioning changes. The Air Force is scheduled to announce associated manpower changes in March.
At a Pentagon news conference Friday, Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz explained the rationale behind their proposal.
“Where possible, we attempted to retire all aircraft of a specific type, allowing us to also divest the unique training and logistic support structure for that aircraft,” Schwartz stated. “When that was not possible, we worked to retire the oldest aircraft first, and redistributed aircraft into effective and economical units, eliminating other units when that was most efficient. Where we retained older aircraft, we are taking steps to ensure they will remain viable into the future,” he said.
The proposed force structure changes — which are projected to save $8.7 billion over the next five years — will result in a reduction of 9,900 airmen, including 3,900 active duty personnel, 5,100 Air Guardsmen and 900 Air Force Reservists, the officials said. They expect those reductions to be made voluntarily.