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Pale Rider
05-09-2007, 07:09 PM
Air Force Fleet Wearing Down


USA Today | May 08, 2007

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. - The Air Force's fleet of warplanes is older than ever and wearing out faster because of heavy use in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the service's top combat commander.

Gen. Ronald Keys, who leads the Air Combat Command, points to cracked wings on A-10 attack planes and frayed electrical cables on U-2 spy planes.

Compared to 1996, the Air Force now spends 87% more on maintenance for a warplane fleet that is less ready to fly, Air Force records show.

They also show that as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, Air Force and other military aircraft are flying more missions in harsh environments.

Keys said he's concerned that policymakers will only pay attention when a plane either crashes on takeoff or over a city "because a wing falls off."

"I don't want to write a letter, or have my successor write a letter, 'Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith, your son or daughter are dead because the wing fell off on takeoff. We knew it was going to fall off, we just didn't know when.' That's kind of what we're getting down to," Keys said.

Arcing wires near fuel tanks recently forced the Air Force to ground its fleet of 33 U-2 spy planes in March for at least a day, Keys said.

The average Air Force warplane is 23.5 years old compared with 8.5 years in 1967. In 2001, the average plane was 22 years old.

The Air Force says it wants to buy new planes to lower the average age of its fleet to 15 years over the next two decades. That will cost an estimated $400billion.

There are 356 A-10s in service. The plane is often used to support ground forces in close combat. The A-10 carries missiles and bombs, but its cannon is particularly effective in strafing.

The Air Force recently bought replacement wings for 132 of its workhorse A-10s at $7 million per plane. The Air Force wants another $34 million for more replacement wings this year.

In the past week, A-10s have attacked enemy forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The planes shot at and bombed Taliban rebels in Afghanistan; in Iraq, A-10s performed a variety of reconnaissance missions to find and stop insurgents from burying roadside bombs.

Aircraft age is misleading, said Christopher Bolkcom, a national security analyst at the Congressional Research Service. Some aircraft may have been lightly used for years and have safe flying hours left. Maintaining old planes may be expensive but often cheaper than buying a new aircraft, he said.

"Chronological age is only one measure of aircraft health," Bolkcom said. "Age is not a safety issue."

While refurbished planes often fly as well as new ones, they may also require more crewmembers to fly and maintain them, said James Jay Carafano, a military analyst at the Heritage Foundation. "These life-cycle costs really matter," he said.

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,135018,00.html?ESRC=airforce.nl

Mr. P
05-09-2007, 07:34 PM
Arcing wires near fuel tanks recently forced the Air Force to ground its fleet of 33 U-2 spy planes in March for at least a day, Keys said.
Hey, hey..The U-2 has been retired for years now. Whaaat's this BS?

Pale Rider
05-09-2007, 07:50 PM
Hey, hey..The U-2 has been retired for years now. Whaaat's this BS?

I think they fly them for purposes other than spying.

But I remember when we got F-16's brand new when I was at Nellis AFB back in 1981. It wasn't long after that the planes fuel totalizer indicator was rolling back and forth a few hundred pounds. The whole fleet was grounded for it. It was right there at Nellis that we found fuel quantity wires looped inside the wing from the fuel quantity probe chaffing on the bottom of the wing causing the problem. There really wasn't any concern that it would blow the air craft up because the fuel quantity probes are capacitve and only have milivolts going to them. But, "wires dangling in the wings arching," sounds familiar.

glockmail
05-09-2007, 07:56 PM
If we wear shit out then buy some new stuff. No biggie. Just make sure our guys have all the best stuff.

Mr. P
05-09-2007, 08:00 PM
I think they fly them for purposes other than spying.

But I remember when we got F-16's brand new when I was at Nellis AFB back in 1981. It wasn't long after that the planes fuel totalizer indicator was rolling back and forth a few hundred pounds. The whole fleet was grounded for it. It was right there at Nellis that we found fuel quantity wires looped inside the wing from the fuel quantity probe chaffing on the bottom of the wing causing the problem. There really wasn't any concern that it would blow the air craft up because the fuel quantity probes are capacitve and only have milivolts going to them. But, "wires dangling in the wings arching," sounds familiar.

Yup wasn't it Pan-Am Flt.800 out of JFK? A Boeing 747, 1994 maybe?

Pale Rider
05-09-2007, 08:22 PM
Yup wasn't it Pan-Am Flt.800 out of JFK? A Boeing 747, 1994 maybe?

There's different types of fuel quantity probes. If float types are used, I don't know much about them, in particular, how much voltage goes to them.

Mr. P
05-09-2007, 08:28 PM
I agree, delete it. Really.

Pale Rider
05-09-2007, 09:29 PM
I agree, delete it. Really.

Yup. I don't know what I'm talking about anyway... :rolleyes:

Mr. P
05-09-2007, 09:40 PM
Yup. I don't know what I'm talking about anyway... :rolleyes:

You da man! :salute:

Psychoblues
05-09-2007, 10:45 PM
When we have no Air Force, we have no military. This is 2007, my friends, not 1807.

theHawk
05-10-2007, 08:51 AM
And who is suggesting its '1807'?

Sitarro
05-10-2007, 10:21 AM
Hey, hey..The U-2 has been retired for years now. Whaaat's this BS?

It was the SR-71 that was retired in 98.

From Wikipedia........
The U-2 is still in front-line service over 50 years after its first flight despite the advent of surveillance satellites. This is primarily due to the ability to direct flights to targets at unpredictable times, an ability which satellites lack. Production of new aircraft was restarted in the 1980s. It has outlasted its Mach 3 SR-71 replacement which was retired in 1998. A classified budget document approved by The Pentagon on December 23, 2005, calls for the termination of the U-2 program no earlier than 2011, with some aircraft being retired as early as 2007.




On another note............

Second F-22 sqaudron operational in Langley,VA
New Republic

Posted on 03/06/2006 4:51:13 PM PST by MARKUSPRIME

March 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The 94th Fighter Squadron, famous for its historic "Hat in the Ring" insignia and legendary aviator Eddy Rickenbacker, began receiving F-22 Raptors from Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT - News) today. The two 5th Generation stealthy, air dominance fighters are assigned to the second operational squadron in the U.S. Air Force.

ADVERTISEMENT The two Raptors will join F-22s flying today as part of the 1st Fighter Wing's 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Lockheed Martin has completed final assembly on 71 of the 107 fighters now on contract, and 63 have been delivered.

"This is another great milestone in the history of the F-22 Program," said Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-22 Program General Manager. "The F-22 will dominate airspace anywhere around the globe, around the clock, and survive in contested airspace better than any other aircraft in the world.

Monkeybone
05-10-2007, 10:30 AM
i thought they were ditching the F-22s though. they are only getting a few hundred? and those were to mostly replace the 14s i thought. i wanna say that they are going with joint strike fighter...or it that just the other flying branches and not the USAF?