U.S. Fighter Pilots Warn Of Gutting Air Superiority - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

U.S. Fighter Pilots Warn Of Gutting Air Superiority

WASHINGTONTIMES.COM - America's aging tactical Air Force — the jets that protect ground troops and strike hard-to-reach targets — is shrinking just as the Pentagon is cutting even more planes to achieve nearly a half-trillion dollars in spending cuts.

The trend has set off alarms among retired fighter pilots, some of whom wrote to Congress last month warning that U.S. "TacAir" is in trouble.

They fear the political pressure to drive down the deficit will mean there will never be enough money to replace 1970s jets with advanced aircraft to operate against rising militaries such as China‘s, which last year unveiled its own stealth fighter, the J-20.

"With the exception of our airlift fleet, we have a geriatric Air Force," said retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, a former F-15 Eagle pilot and Operation Desert Storm war planner. "We're flying fighters that are 30 years old. What people seem to miss is, a fighter is not like an airliner, where you take off from Point A and go to Point B. Our pilots put six to nine [gravitational forces] on these things every day."

Gen. Deptula, who now heads the Mav6 LLC aerospace company, pointed to a 2007 event that has come to symbolize the collection of elderly fighter jets: An Air National Guard F-15C, the premier air superiority jet, broke apart in the sky during combat training. The pilot ejected safely. click here to read more

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