Air Force aging aircraft woes....

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
Actually, when I was at Kelly AFB, we pulled A-10 LRUs out of our bench test units to send to USAFE in support of Kosovo, because there weren't enough (i.e., ANY) spares on hand, and since we were decommissioning our testing units, we added our components to the spares.

They need to do something to refurbish the older aircraft since they aren't replacing them as quickly as the existing ones are aging. What, they procured like 5 F-22s this year or so?
 

Grumpy01

New Member
For information, the NEWEST KC 135s are 63 models.

Admittidly there have been many mods to the fleet, but, the basic airframes are still 40 somthing years old. Thats a lot of cycles and a lot of stress.

I do not know if any of the earlier years are still flying. They were built from 55 - 63.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Ridiculous.

If we're going to be asking guys like you to put your butts on the line for us, the least we can do is spend some money on making sure the aircraft are functional.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Wm and Grumpy: The A-10s were built from 75-82. 78-82 models are still in use, but are rapidly falling apart. The oldest KC-135 I refueled from was the other night, a 1956 model. As Grumpy alluded, it had the Pacer CRAG phase-out-the-navigator mod to it, as well as CFM-56 engines replacing the old J57P-59W water injecteds, making it an R model from it's previous A model.

Copa: Yup, our planes are about beat up. There's some of them with so many deferred items, that it's a gamble to see what systems work on one plane and not another. The Hog Up modification was cancelled for lack of funding. That was the program to re-wing the center wing boxes on the fleet. Supposedly, there's Suite II/III mods coming that are supposed to give MFDs and other upgrades to the Hog, but I don't see that being fully completed either. New engines are financially out of the question. The Hog is slowly on the way out. Guys say no to this since it's still slated for upgrades. IMO, it'll be ike the F-4/F-111 before it; when both were still receiving upgrades prior to going to the boneyard less than a month later. All because the mods were already paid for, and there'd be hell to pay to cancel a contract.

Same crap. F-15C Eagle is the highest maintenance man hours per flight hour fighter airframe we have in inventory.

And you're absolutely right.....F/A-22s are only trickling in.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Ridiculous.

If we're going to be asking guys like you to put your butts on the line for us, the least we can do is spend some money on making sure the aircraft are functional.

[/ QUOTE ]

You should see some of next year's budget.....something like one new missile submarine, 200 or so F/A-22s.......everything you need to fight a 1980s-ish nuclear confrontation with the USSR....

Didn't see much for up-armored Humvees, top of the line body armor, or a good replacement for the POS M-16s.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
I can't believe in a government budget that's in the trillions, we can't find a way to keep you equipped with equipment that works. At the same time that we're looking to spend billions on missile defense that would protect us from an enemy that no longer exists and that would put us in violation of a treaty, we're not willing to spend money on things that you folks in the field need?

It's absurd. I will be writing to my Congressional reps. I went to high school with one of their nephews and he went to Annapolis and then to the Marines, so I think that will get their attention.
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
You should see some of next year's budget.....something like one new missile submarine, 200 or so F/A-22s.......everything you need to fight a 1980s-ish nuclear confrontation with the USSR....

Didn't see much for up-armored Humvees, top of the line body armor, or a good replacement for the POS M-16s.

[/ QUOTE ]

Nor for airlift. There was a debate for which to do: purchase more C-17s, upgrade the C-5s, or purchase more commercial airlift aircraft. I thought, "Why not cancel the F-22 and do all three?" After all, airlift requirements are always high, be it peacetime or wartime. I remember in the 90s, they decided to use the 135s to carry cargo (well, they do have a "C" in their designation), and they discovered that these planes had rapidly developed cracks in the wing spars from trying to use them like 141s.

And thinking of the F-22, I remember one Eagle driver boasting of how quickly we achieved air superiority in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Yeah, it's not hard when your enemy doesn't have an air force...

But don't forget, when it comes to acquisition, it all comes down to who's district has the most jobs. For example, no one in the Air Force wanted the C-130J, but they were built in Newt's district and provided to the unit in Trent's state, so guess what - they got built. Look for a similar debate to emerge with "do we purchase more F-35s from Texas or refurbish more F-16s in Utah?" in a few years. Happens every day; AF requirements hardly enter into the equation it seems.
 

Wm226

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
And thinking of the F-22, I remember one Eagle driver boasting of how quickly we achieved air superiority in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Yeah, it's not hard when your enemy doesn't have an air force...

[/ QUOTE ]

Hahaha... that is great stuff.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
You should see some of next year's budget.....something like one new missile submarine, 200 or so F/A-22s.......everything you need to fight a 1980s-ish nuclear confrontation with the USSR....

Didn't see much for up-armored Humvees, top of the line body armor, or a good replacement for the POS M-16s.

[/ QUOTE ]

Nor for airlift. There was a debate for which to do: purchase more C-17s, upgrade the C-5s, or purchase more commercial airlift aircraft. I thought, "Why not cancel the F-22 and do all three?" After all, airlift requirements are always high, be it peacetime or wartime. I remember in the 90s, they decided to use the 135s to carry cargo (well, they do have a "C" in their designation), and they discovered that these planes had rapidly developed cracks in the wing spars from trying to use them like 141s.

And thinking of the F-22, I remember one Eagle driver boasting of how quickly we achieved air superiority in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Yeah, it's not hard when your enemy doesn't have an air force...

But don't forget, when it comes to acquisition, it all comes down to who's district has the most jobs. For example, no one in the Air Force wanted the C-130J, but they were built in Newt's district and provided to the unit in Trent's state, so guess what - they got built. Look for a similar debate to emerge with "do we purchase more F-35s from Texas or refurbish more F-16s in Utah?" in a few years. Happens every day; AF requirements hardly enter into the equation it seems.

[/ QUOTE ]

Exactly. On the C-130J, notice there's none on active duty? All the 130Js to date that were forced on the AF, they sent to the Reserve and Guard units. I've seen none in theatre here. The active doesn't want them because it takes $$$ away from other toys they want; conversly, the reserve and ANG don't want them because it puts X-amount of navigators and flight engineers out of a job. The plane does look nice, though. One came into DM from the Maryland ANG. I went into the cockpit and it smelled brand new, 781 logs showed 73hrs Total Time on the airframe.....that was after the flight to Tucson had been added in!

As for the C-5, another friend from Riddle was hired a couple of months ago to work at Warner-Robins ALC on a contract to refurbish/re-wing C-5 Galaxy's. The AF terminated the program 3 weeks ago, Kevin lost his job, and is back in AZ. As-is, the C-5 FRED (F#cking Ridiculous Economic Disaster) has only about a 40% in-service rate.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
Hey Copa' - why don't you tell us how important the project "acronym" is to the appropriations process?


I like stores abou $150 nails!
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Hey Copa' - why don't you tell us how important the project "acronym" is to the appropriations process?


I like stores abou $150 nails!


[/ QUOTE ]

One of the projects I worked on began life as the "Force Level Automated Replanning Tool" for replanning the air tasking order during the execution phase. When we presented the idea to the general, he said, "It's a great idea, but I want you to change the name. There is no way I am going to get support among the users to fund something called 'FLART'..."

They ended up calling it "Force Level Execution (FLEX)" but that fell through and got a bad name, so these days it's called "EMC".

And it's funny how much all that stuff is influenced by politics. One program gets a bad name, and then it is reincarnated under a new acronym.

There's a lot to the name game. During the first President Bush administration, McDonnell Douglas was producing a stealthy aircraft to replace the A-6 called the A-12. But, they started getting into schedule and budget problems. So, they decided to call it "Avenger II" thinking that there was no way former TBM Avenger pilot George Bush would ever cancel a program named after his old plane. Yet, that didn't stop Dick Cheney from doing it!

What is funny is that the Boeing 777 went from requirements to concept to prototype to operational in about 5 or 6 years. The F-22 has been in that same life-cycle since the early 1980s; no wonder that as soon as the aircraft is fielded and fully operatonal, the Air Force is going to be looking for a replacement for it.
 

shooter13

New Member
talking about old aircraft. We deal with old nuclear power plants and ships. The Enterprise's keel was laid in 1957. The power plant was critical in 1961. That thing is a manpower intensive pig to keep running. Maybe we should only operate our carriers in freshwater. That way there would be less corrosion??? I could be missing something. Theproblem with subs is that they are expensive and have a pretty short life cycle. They can only do a certain number of dives and surfaces (hopefully those two numbers stay equal) in their life time.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
They can only do a certain number of dives and surfaces (hopefully those two numbers stay equal) in their life time.

[/ QUOTE ]

Kinda like landings and takeoffs, where in the end, you want the number to be equal?
 
Top