This is a great chart illustrating the problems faced by the Air Force. After fifteen years of neglect, the average age of fighters in the Air Force fleet has risen to just over 20 years, double the previous highest average. And with SecDef Gates and President Obama sending signals that the F-22’s days are numbered, the problem will only get worse.
February 5, 2009Ã¢â‚¬â€ If you want to know why USAF fighters are so old, look no further. In the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties, fighter purchases (vertical bars) generally oscillated between 150 and 400 a year. Turnover was heavy, so average age (red line) hovered around 10 years. Then, in 1992, came the crash. Fighter purchases fell to almost nothing and have stayed in that desolate spot through three presidencies. With no replacements, fighters have stayed in service, growing long in the tooth. The average fighter is now an unprecedented 21 years old.