Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No Fighter Gap

That's the claim of Loren Thompson, "Air Force expert with the Lexington Institute", from the Air Force Times:

“At some point, you have to say to yourself, a gap compared to
what? Against what?” Thompson said. “If [another nation] was buying [fighters in
large quantities], you’d say, ‘Yeah, we need to keep up.’ But they’re not. It
seems as though we’re posturing ourselves for the threat we want to fight rather
than the fight we’re actually in.”
Indeed, some lawmakers, congressional
staff and defense analysts have questioned the Air Force’s plan to replace 1,647
F-16s and A-10s with 1,763 F-35s. The F-35 is at least four times as capable as
the legacy systems it will replace, according to Air Force budget documents, so
the skeptics have argued that the legacy aircraft do not need to be replaced at
a 1-to-1 ratio.

The power of modern weapons plus advanced aircraft is also why I think we can do with far fewer aircraft carriers. Back to the USAF, considering the capabilities of the new planes, seems we could do with as few as 500 (especially the F-35B vertol version), if we add swarms of the UCAVs, the combat UAVs currently entering service and rising in capabilities themselves. A little bit of the old and the new.