As the US Air Force technology becomes outdated, it becomes more expensive to maintain. Ironically and unfortunately, cuts have been made mostly in newer tech which only further compounds the problem of an aging military power.
For decades, the U.S. Air Force has grown accustomed to such superlatives as unrivaled and unbeatable. These days, some of its key combat aircraft are being described with terms like geriatric, or decrepit.
The aging of the U.S. Air Force, a long-simmering topic in defense circles, made a brief appearance in the presidential debates when Republican nominee Mitt Romney cited it as evidence of the decline of U.S. military readiness. His contention that the Navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917 got more attention, thanks to President Barack Obama’s quip that the Navy also has fewer “horses and bayonets.”
But analysts say the Air Force has a real problem, and it will almost certainly worsen no matter who wins Tuesday’s election. It was created in part by a lack of urgency in the post-Cold War era, and by design glitches and cost overruns that have delayed attempts to build next-generation aircraft.
Looming budget cuts limit the force’s ability to correct itself, they argue, as China’s rise as a world power heightens its need to improve. And though the world’s most formidable air force never had much use for bayonets, it’s got more than its share of warhorses.…
But Loren Thompson, of the Lexington Institute, a conservative think tank, said the graying Air Force is evidence of how Washington has failed to keep its eye on the ball.
“The reason the fleet is so decrepit is because for the first 10 years after the Cold War ended, policymakers thought the United States was in an era of extended peace,” he said. “Then it spent the next 10 years fighting an enemy with no air force and no air defenses. So air power was neglected for 20 years, and today the Air Force reflects that fact.”
Unlike America’s more recent adversaries, China has a credible air force that could conceivably strike U.S. bases in the region, requiring a deterrent force that is based farther away, out of range. America’s bases in Japan — and possibly Guam — also are within striking distance of a North Korean missile attack.
“As the nation looks to increased focus in the Pacific, these long-range strike platforms will be especially important,” Haffa said. “Planes like the B-52 simply cannot survive.”
Full article: Past inattention, present budget woes mean US Air Force must keep its aging warhorses flying (Fox News)