F-22, Ticonderoga, F-15EX…: why are Congress and the American armies opposed on future acquisitions and early withdrawals?

Each year, the passage through Congress of financing projects for the American armies is the occasion for a fierce standoff between senators and representatives, on the one hand, and the civilian and military officials of the Pentagon, on the other. .

In recent years, however, this standoff, which most often focused on questions of investment balance and the protection of local investments, has transformed into a fundamental confrontation, with reversed fronts. In fact, it is the parliamentarians who oppose the withdrawals or reduction of purchases, requested by the military.

The demands of the American armies are therefore opposed, in particular with regard to the withdrawal of certain equipment, and the reduction in the acquisition formats of others, and the analysis made by parliamentarians, as to the consequences of these reductions in format, on American military response capabilities.

This year again, this opposition has intensified, to the point that we can question its foundations, but also the possibility of getting out of it, in the future, and the way of achieving this, if applicable?

Congress blocks F-22 retirement and expands U.S. Air Force's F-15EX acquisition.

The 2025 finance bill for the US Air Force provided for the withdrawal of 250 aircraft, including 56 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, 65 F-15Cs and Ds, 11 F-16s, as well as 20 F-22s. and 26 F-15Es, just to talk about the fighter fleet. If the representatives gave in on the need to get rid of the A-10s, considered too vulnerable, as well as the F-15 and F-16 at the end of their potential, they rejected, on the other hand, the request concerning the F-22 and the F-15E.

Congressional Defense Committee of the House of Representatives
The Defense Committee of the House of Representatives of the American Congress.

The Raptors, which belong to the fleet of 32 Block 10s currently in service, are judged by the US Air Force to be insufficiently ready, technologically speaking, for operational use, not without having to invest significant update funds. While the NGAD, which must replace the F-22s from 2030, is looming, such investments therefore appear superfluous.

The reading of the same situation by parliamentarians, however, is very different. If they recognize that the F-22 Block 10s are less effective than the Block 20s, they believe that the aircraft remain superior to any other modern fighter aircraft, which could be opposed to him in the years to come.

While a major conflict or crisis may erupt in the years to come, with short notice, in different theaters, they therefore consider it inappropriate to deprive themselves of these devices, to achieve minimal budgetary savings, by depriving themselves of a significant response potential.

The same applies to the 26 F-15Es whose withdrawal was requested by the US Air Force, on the pretext that these aircraft no longer have a sufficiently large engine potential to await the replacement deadline by the F-35. Here again, for parliamentarians, it would mean depriving themselves of an immediate operational potential that could prove very useful in the years to come, in order to free up minimum credits.

f-15 US Air force
US Air Force F-15.

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