USAF Fleet Structured For The Wrong War, CSBA Warns

Not only are they too small, by one-third, to fight a near-simultaneous war with Russia and China in 2030, the U.S. Air Force's four newest frontline combat aircraft today—the B-2, F-35A, F-22 and KC-46—will be limited to stand-off distance from future highly contested airspace.

In 2030, a new crop of Russian and Chinese very-long-range air-to-air missiles will keep Boeing's newly delivered KC-46 tankers at least 500-1,000 nm away from defended airspace, flanked by a protective shield of aging F-16s. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin F-35As will still slip through an enemy's long-range fighter screens but will now stay safely outside an enemy's borders, lobbing Stand-in Attack Weapons (SiAW)—the Air Force's future version of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER)—at targets from hundreds of miles away.

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