The United States Air Force has been the pre-eminent air power since its inception in 1947. Retaining this status requires constantly upgrading the airborne inventory to stay ahead of rivals such as China and Russia in terms of technology and firepower.
To determine the U.S. Air Force’s newest aircraft, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the “2022 USAF & USSF Almanac: Equipment” published in Air and Space Forces Magazine. We excluded all aircraft used as trainers.
This past March, the Department of the Air Force unveiled a $259.3 billion budget request — $9.3 billion above last year’s budget — that is intended to continue modernizing the Air Force and Space Force to meet evolving threats while also addressing current needs such as training, readiness, and supporting new technology.
The proposed budget includes funding that would add 72 fighters — F-35A Lightning II and F-15EX Eagle II — and provide early-stage funding for the next generation of aerial refueling tankers. The F-35A Lightning II and F-15EX Eagle II are two of the five newest planes in the Air Force fleet. There are 282 F-35A Lightning IIs in active Air Force service, the second-most on our list behind the 299 MQ-9A Reapers. (See if any are among the most expensive planes in the U.S. Air Force.)
All of the aircraft on this list are less than 28 years old. Two of the most newly minted planes in the Air Force inventory have been in service for less than a year: the F-15EX Eagle II fighter/attack plane and the HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopter. (These are 30 combat aircraft being built for the U.S. military.)
Eighteen of the 30 newest aircraft in Air Force service on the list are either transport craft or intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance/battle management/command, control, and communications planes.
Click here to see the 30 newest aircraft in the US Air Force.
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