Under a CR and Sequestration: Air Force Would See Cuts to Most Weapons Systems

The Air Force for the past month, along with the other services, has been vocal on the devastating impact sequestration will have across the board.

After testifying last week on the Hill, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark Welsh has continued to clarify and warn of what sequestration will do to the Air Force.

  • 17% cut in aircraft depot maintenance
  • 18% drop in flying hours, with the possibility of a flying stand- down this summer
  • 18% reduction in weapon system sustainment
  • 30 weapons systems will be impacted, 146 postponed depot inductions, 85 engines pulled

As a whole the Pentagon will have to make $45 billion in cuts in FY13 but with only 6-7 months time to do so. The deeper the pentagon has to cut into O&M, which consists of more flexible accounts, the greater the impact on readiness. The common message - avoiding a "hollow force."

For the Air Force, this could impact critical weapon systems programs such as the F-35 and KC-46 - both of which are of interest to the Air National Guard - even though the service is doing all it can to protect these two programs.

But other systems will take a hit - T-38 jet trainer, the A-10 and MC-12 combat aircraft, the B-1, B-2 and B-52 bomber  aircraft, the C-130, C-17, C-40 and C-5 cargo/transport aircraft and the F-15, F-16 and F-22 fighter jets and the RQ-4 Global Hawk and U-2 aircraft.

Gen. Welsh this week stated that 70% of the service’s combat air forces will be non-mission capable by July if sequestration and a continuing resolution funding the government remain in place. With civilian cuts, furloughs and possible stand-downs later this year, there is no question that the result will be a massive degradation of readiness.

Ultimately, the Air Force is facing a $12.4 billion shortfall in its base budget and a $11.8 billion OCO funding shortfall in the remainder of FY13.

In January, Air Force Secretary Michael Donely stated "[if] sequestration hits and the multibillion-dollars reductions fall on the last two quarters of the fiscal year, there is no way not to impact training, flying hours and maintenance, which are things, right now, we are trying to protect as long as we can.“

Air Force sequester impact map.

For a full NGAUS summary of Air Force Memos, click here

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