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Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Hostage told airmen assigned to the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, that he is “fighting hard to keep our future programs on track” despite fiscal constraints. During his Nov. 8 visit, he said the Air Force’s F-15s and F-16s are nearly 30-years-old, though they were intended to last “about eight to 10 years.” And, although those aircraft are still “very capable” and “better than anything else out there,” Hostage also emphasized the importance of “building the next generation of competitive airplanes.” However, that can prove challenging given the current fiscal and political environment, he noted. Still, Hostage vehemently vowed to do everything possible to ensure airmen are prepared to fight. “One promise that I will make, that I will die before I give up on, is that I will not send an airman over here who is not trained and equipped to do the job,” said Hostage.  (Kandahar release)