National Security

General: Air Force Aircraft Are So Old, Many Would Qualify For Antique License Plates

Daniel Hughes/U.S. Air Force/Handout via Reuters.

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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More than half of Air Force aircraft are so old they would qualify for antique license plates in Virginia, said Air Force Gen. Stephen Wilson Monday.

Wilson’s comments were part of his testimony to the House Committee on Armed Services during a hearing on military readiness. Wilson, joined by the vice chiefs of staff of the Navy, Army and Marine Corps, warned Congress that a lack of defense spending is severely hampering military readiness in all branches.

The average Air Force aircraft is approximately 27 years old, noted Wilson, meaning the service’s “advantage over potential adversaries is shrinking.”

He explained that high demands and low funding have significantly impacted the Air Force’s capabilities.

“Sustained global commitments and funding reductions have eroded our Air Force to the point where we have become one of the smallest, oldest-equipped, and least ready forces across the full-spectrum of operations, in our service history,” said Wilson in his statement.

The Air Force, along with the other military branches, are suffering from a severe readiness problem. While politicians and military officials are searching for a solution, they are limited by spending caps enforced by former President Barack Obama’s Budget Control Act of 2011. The law severely limits defense spending until 2021, while exempting money for overseas operations.

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