A new Mitre study says the U.S. Air Force should expand four additional bases in the Pacific to accommodate operations of up to 24 bombers and 18 tankers as well as procure and field “large magazines of long-range standoff weapons” to counter anti-access/area denial threats, the Air Force Magazine reported Thursday.
Mitre’s inventory study calls for the service branch to maintain 80 percent or higher mission capable rates across aircraft fleets and ramp up F-35A procurements.
“USAF should purchase F-35As at least in the quantities laid out in the fiscal 2019 budget and up to 54 aircraft per year,” according to the report.
Other recommendations in the report are buying approximately 400 F/T-X aircraft for 15 squadrons in support of the homeland defense mission; accelerating T-X trainer purchases; procuring new versions of F-15 to replace older variants; and retiring the T-1 trainer aircraft.
The report noted that increasing aircraft’s mission capable rates to 80 percent, reforming basing and acquiring new systems will cost approximately $673.2B through 2030, reflecting a “10% increase over the Air Force's aircraft-only planning baseline of $612.6B during the same period.”