Cover: United States Air Force Aircraft Fleet Retention Trends

United States Air Force Aircraft Fleet Retention Trends

A Historical Analysis

Published Nov 23, 2009

by Timothy Ramey, Edward G. Keating


Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback48 pages $23.00

This report provides historical contextual information on the ages of aircraft designs operated by the Air Force. Using reports published in 1998 by the Air Force Historical Agency, the authors identify the first year in which any active wing or squadron reported operating a specific aircraft design and the last year in which a given aircraft design was reported as being operated by any active wing or squadron. The greatest number of introductions of new designs and retirement of old designs occurred during World War II. During that conflict, there was rapid “churn,” with many designs operated for only a few years. In contrast, more recent periods have seen longer-lasting designs and relatively fewer short-lived designs. Since the end of World War II and the formation of the Air Force as an independent military service, there has been a consistent trend for the Air Force to keep aircraft designs in operation for ever-longer periods. While the mean age of aircraft designs currently in operation is at an all-time high, the same statement could have been made at most times throughout the history of the Air Force.

Research conducted by

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.