has rolled out its airplane buying plan for the next thirty years in the highly speculative yet congressionally mandated Aircraft Procurement Plan 2012-2041
. The document outlines the fleet size for the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and the Navy, giving some idea of what to expect in the coming years. Overall, the number of aircraft staying around the current size of 5,500, but the plan does show that the DoD is eager to get more drones
into the fleet.
For the most part, expansion is out. Bombers, cargo planes, and aerial refueling are staying at around their current levels. This doesn't mean that there will be no new developments in those areas -- the plan calls for a new bomber of some kind, and procurement of the new KC-164 aerial refueling craft -- but the total fleet sizes will remain untouched. There will even be some shrinkage, mostly in the fighter segment, which will drop by some 10% from the current 3,300 craft. This figure includes legacy fighters like the F-15 and F-16, in addition to the new F-22 and F-35.
However, the number of mid-size to large unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will nearly double in the next nine years, going from about 340 to 650 by 2012.