It is the oldest aircraft in the US Air Force – 24/7 Wall St.
The best and most effective weapons are supposed to be the latest. Their designs took advantage of recent developments in technology, and their designers had the opportunity to analyze the successes and failures of earlier versions of similar tools of war. (These are 18 of the deadliest guns of all time.)
For various reasons, however, the US Air Force still uses some aircraft that may be 50 or even 60 years old. The Air Force’s oldest aircraft is the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueling aircraft manufactured between 1955 and 1965. The average age of the 30 examples still in active inventory was 60.6 years in 2021.
The US Department of Defense, however, constantly updates, improves and replaces the aircraft. But things don’t always go as planned. An example is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Department of Defense spends about $133 million on each one. Within the federal government Financial year 2021, the F-35 program cost $1.7 billion. The F-35 program budget request for fiscal year 2023 is $11 billion. In short, the Air Force sees the F-35 as its workhorse fighter for the future.
However, Congress and the Department of Defense hit a roadblock with the F-35. It doesn’t work as well as expected. Speaking bluntly, Representative John Garamendi said last year, “The program is over budget. It fails to deliver the promised capabilities. And its mission capability rates aren’t even beginning to reach service thresholds. He added that the F-35 had become a waste of taxpayers’ money. (Find out what the US military spends the most money on.)
The Air Force encountered similar obstacles with the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, which first flew in 1989 and was officially introduced in 1997. Among its other advantages, it has the ability to evade radar and can carry conventional and thermonuclear weapons. Unfortunately, overtaking puts the cost per plane, including development, engineering and testing, at more than $2 billion, according to the General Accounting Office. Originally, there were to be a total of 132 B-2s. This figure only reached 21, and one of them crashed.
The B-2 was to replace one of the oldest weapons in the US Air Force arsenal, the B-52. This aircraft remains the most widely used American bomber, although it first flew in 1952 and became fully operational in 1955. It can carry 70,000 pounds of bombs. Of the 744s built, 76 remain in service, and the Air Force expects the aircraft to remain in service until the 2050s.
They are the oldest aircraft in the US Air Force
To determine the oldest aircraft in the U.S. Air Force, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the “2021 USAF & USSF Almanac: Equipment” published in Air Force Magazine.