Why 32 "Non-Combat-Capable" F-22s That Can Still Fight Against the 4th Generation Jets Shouldn’t Be Decommissioned

F-22 / Credits to all photos: U.S. Air Force
F-22 / Credits to all photos: U.S. Air Force

The topic of decommissioning the USAF aircraft is quite painful in the context of constant disputes with Congress

The US Air Force wants to retire 32 fifth-generation F-22A Raptor Block 2 aircraft at once in 2024: they wanted to decommission them this year, but Congress did not give the green light. As Defense News says, in today's reality, it is important to block the request to decommission these aircraft in the future.

The main argument against decommissioning these fifth-generation fighters is as follows: at the moment, the US Air Force has such a situation that it is not worth retiring more than three dozen fighters, especially today, in the conditions of a shaky security situation in the world.

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Why 32

Especially since the US Air Force currently has more than half as many fighter jets as in 1990, and in the conditions of russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the provocative actions of China, and the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, it is not worth giving up aircraft that could still serve.

In general, the situation with the decommissioning of these 32 F-22 fighters is as follows: the US Air Force says that they are no longer capable and are used only for training, and that the funds released by the retirement of these aircraft will go to the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) sixth-generation fighter program.

At the same time, the article notes that the statement about the incapacity of the planes is only partially true, but at the same time, even these versions are capable of defeating any fourth-generation enemy fighter.

And even if they will continue to be used only for training, it will also be a good option. Because otherwise, other planes will have to be released for these tasks, of which there are not very many anyway – less than two hundred.

And finally, as a general conclusion on the US Air Force: that Congress should actually sufficiently fund the service so that the military has air superiority today and tomorrow, and not seek compromises on the release of funds for certain projects.

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