The Navy is replacing its F-15, F-16 and F-18 fighter jets at sea, a decision that could save up to $3 billion and save the Navy as much as $1 billion annually, officials said Tuesday.
The Navy’s decision will allow it to upgrade its fleet of fighter aircraft to the F-22, the Navy’s most powerful and expensive jet.
The decision also will help the Navy reduce costs as it tries to buy as many F-21As as possible.
With the Navy cutting back on spending, it is looking to the air force to make up for the lost fighters, officials told The Associated Press.
“We need to look at what we can save and how we can afford to spend the money,” said Lt.
Gen. Mark Milley, commander of the Joint Strike Fighter Program.
“I’m not going to tell you what we should do, but we can look at our options, but I’m going to say this, we can’t just be looking at these fighters.”
The F-20, the Pentagon’s last major jet, is nearing retirement.
The Navy hopes to buy 20 F-40s in 2021.
Milley said the F/A-18 Super Hornet will not replace the F15, but it will offer a cost-effective alternative for the Navy.
F-35 jets were first flown in 2011 and cost about $2.7 billion.
Milley said that in the past decade, the F35 has cost about 10 percent less than the F18.
In a news release, the Air Force said the Navy was making the decision because the F100-capable F/ A-18E/F Super Hornets have been out of production for more than a decade.
For years, the Marine Corps has been moving toward replacing its aging F-14 Tomcats and F/C-130J Super Hercules with F-5s.
Milionsairforce.com said the service has been working to reduce the F5’s cost by about $3 million per plane.
Aircraft production at the Marine Air Weapons Center in Cherry Point, N.C., is scheduled to begin in 2020.
The F5 has been replaced by the F7-30, a stealthy variant of the plane.