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U.S. search and rescue air power to take a blow?

The  U.S. Air Force is far gradually using up the arsenal it acquired during the end of the Cold War, notes Lexington Institute defense analyst Loren Thompson in a just-released brief.

The next blow to U.S. air power seems to be aimed at the Air Force’s search and rescue service, which leads efforts to retrieve downed pilots and other endangered personnel from being in harm’s way.

The Air Force is buying 112 Sikorsky helicopters despite the need for a larger one, and there’s been no decision on what will replacing existing HH-60G search and rescue helicopters, although it’s contemplating more H-60s, which are inferior to the HH-47, EH-101 and V-22 Osprey, Thompson says.

“Unless something changes, this looks like yet another mission area where the Air Force is losing altitude fast,” Thompson writes.