With the U.S. Air Force considering the retirement of the Boeing F-15C Eagle, Lockheed Martin’s stealthy fifth-generation F-22 Raptor will be the only air superiority fighter in the service’s inventory.
In total, there are only six front line F-22 squadrons—rather than the required 10—all of which have fewer aircraft than a normal fighter unit. Five of those squadrons have 21 primary authorized aircraft and two backup inventory jets while one operational Hawaii Air National Guard unit has 18 primary authorized aircraft and two backup jets.
Building more F-22s is not the answer however. Air Combat Command is working on ways to keep the Raptor relevant into the 2030s and beyond to the end of its service life in the 2060s.
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