The Cost of Replacing the Department of Defense’s Current Aviation Fleet
Summarizing three reports about the aviation fleets of the U.S. Air Force, Army, and the Department of the Navy, CBO projects the number and costs of aircraft the Department of Defense would need to procure to maintain the fleets’ current size through 2050.
The U.S. Air Force, Army, and Department of the Navy—which includes the Navy and the Marine Corps—operate large fleets of aircraft. The Congressional Budget Office produced three reports about those fleets, projecting the number and costs of aircraft the Department of Defense (DoD) would need to procure to maintain the fleets’ current size through 2050. In this report, CBO synthesizes the information in the three reports and compares the military services’ procurement costs.
The Air Force’s fleet is much older, on average, than those of the Army and the Department of the Navy. If the Air Force maintained its current fleet size, CBO estimates, its costs for procuring aircraft in upcoming years would rise considerably. Those increases would result in an overall increase in DoD’s costs for procuring aircraft, CBO projects. Between 2000 and 2018, DoD’s annual costs for procuring aircraft averaged about $26 billion (in 2018 dollars); CBO projects that the costs of DoD’s procurement plans would average $40 billion in the 2030s.