Author Topic: USAF Woes  (Read 100134 times)

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Offline MarkOttawa

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USAF Woes
« on: September 21, 2007, 20:27:19 »
We (and I suspect the RAF) are not alone--although the RAAF is, to my mind, not doing badly:

Quote
Warning: USAF is "Going Out of Business"
http://206.204.189.217/AFA/Features/modernization/box092107warning.htm

September 21, 2007— The Air Force’s attempts to fund replacement of its aged aircraft fleet by cutting personnel is failing, and if Congress and the White House don’t provide an infusion of cash soon, the service will no longer be able to win wars, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne declared.

 Wynne, speaking at a Washington think tank Sept. 19, said that the service’s stay-within-its-topline bootstrap approach isn’t arresting the aging aircraft problem, and the inventory age is still rising, from 23.9 years today to 26.5 years by 2012.

 The Air Force’s older fighters aren’t up to defeating a modern air defense system or modern foreign fighters, Wynne said, and in a fight with Venezuela or Iran, such aircraft would probably be shot down.

“No [USAF] fourth-generation fighter would be allowed into war over Tehran or over Caracas, once they buy what the Russians are selling them,” Wynne said. He noted that as far back as 1999, only stealthy B-2s and F-117s were actually allowed to overfly the murderous air defenses around Belgrade in operation Allied Force, and foreign air defense systems have improved dramatically since then.

“If you as Americans want to be coerced, we’re starting down that road,” he admonished.

A massive aircraft modernization effort was slated to begin in the mid-1990s, but it was sidetracked by the end of the Cold War, and then again by the wars in Southwest Asia. The Air Force can’t wait any longer, Wynne said.

If the nation’s adversaries believe the US is losing its ability to dominate the air, “they will kick our butts,” he said flatly. “America’s not funding us to be a large Air Force anymore.”

Moreover, if sufficient numbers of fifth-generation F-35s and F-22s aren’t in service in two decades, the US will only be on a par with other countries that are aggressively pursuing their own fifth-generation fighters, Wynne said.

“If we’re in a fair fight, you, the American public, are in trouble,” Wynne warned. 

 It was Wynne’s idea, he said, to “voluntarily downsize and restructure the force, just like an industrialist would do, in order to gain the resources to recapitalize his asset base.” The reductions targeted 40,000 full-time equivalent uniformed slots.

However, “it isn’t working,” Wynne admitted.

“What does that mean to an industrialist?" he asked and answered: "It means you are going out of business. It is simply a matter of time.” All that has been accomplished, he said, is to slow down the pace at which Air Force aircraft race toward their retirement dates...

The KC-X tanker program is the Air Force’s top priority, Wynne said, because his “biggest fear” is that the Eisenhower-vintage aircraft will simply start to crash. If that happens, they would either have to be kept flying—forcing USAF to “essentially accept the risk”—or grounded, leaving the nation with only a few dozen 1980s-vintage KC-10s to refuel the nation’s air armadas.

He chided critics of the F-35, saying the US can’t just—yet again—defer buying the state of the art and wait for the next generation of aircraft to come along. The last time the Air Force did that, it wound up buying only 21 B-2s, Wynne said, which fighter critics tout as the best type of weapon to counter far-away China.

 “How big do you think China is?” he asked...

Well, it sure is a great wall.

Mark
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2007, 20:56:47 »
The Air Force for the first time in memory isnt getting as big a share of the pie as they used to. They resent that the Army has center stage in the GWOT. The USAF has mismanaged their procurement programs and has long had a higher ratio of officers to airmen than the other services. The RIF is long overdue but the USAF has not pruned their officer corps as they need to. They still have a long way to go.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2007, 22:08:15 »
The USAF has mismanaged their procurement programs and has long had a higher ratio of officers to airmen than the other services. The RIF is long overdue but the USAF has not pruned their officer corps as they need to. They still have a long way to go.

I don't think this is a fair comparison as the majority of pilots are officers. When you factor in that officers don't drive trucks for the army and a ship needs several hundreds times the crew of a fighter aircraft then naturally you're going to have more officers.

Offline GAP

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2007, 22:15:38 »
Is not the AF more highly capital intensive than the other arms?
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2007, 22:43:38 »
The Air Force and Navy are neck and neck for expensive weapons platforms. Give you an example about USAF personnel policy. All the services EXCEPT the USAF have Warrant Officers filling technical jobs. The USAF used to have them until 1959 when they decided to discontinue the program and have officers fill those technical jobs.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2007, 23:58:01 »
I suspect that emerging technologies will radically change the Air Force, although not perhaps in the direction the Zoomies want.

UAV's are the first wave, with Predators routinely flying 30 hr missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, while the crew is operating out of a trailer in Florida. To strike targets in the near future, modified ICBMs or SLBMs carrying conventional warheads may be doing the job currently done by bombers and strike planes, and the most powerful warplane will be a 747 packing a megawatt laser! Fighter jocks do not look on these visions with enthusiasm, to say the least.

There are many historical analogies of services having difficulties adjusting to radical changes in their environments (social and political changes as well as technological changes), and the USAF (and to a lesser extent many western air forces) will have to get their act together and redefine themselves for the 21rst century.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2007, 00:51:20 »
The USAF just got shot down so to speak in their attempt to be the executive agent for all UAV's that fly above 3000 ft I think it was. Fortunately their empire building attempt was stopped.

Offline Spandrel

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2007, 12:34:19 »
For a while it looked like the UAV issue was going to become another post-WWII "fixed wing/helo/naval air who-owns-what" inter-service war between the USAF, Army, USMC and Navy.  Does the USCG use UAV?

Wait out for Canada's version of this one - hopefully we take a common-sense approach to resolving the brewing conflict...

Offline Dan M

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2007, 20:38:52 »
While reading this article and the parts about rising defence expenditures, I was reminded of an earlier post by that great thinker E. R. Campbell and his words on the rising costs of defence and the Canadian military;

QUOTE:
Defence budgets were under severe stress, primarily because then, as now, people fail to understand that defence inflation – measured systemically, warship by warship, fighter by fighter, rifle by rifle, and person by person as a percentage of the nation's treasury – is higher, much higher, even, in some cases, an order of magnitude higher than the general inflation rate.  By 1963 the rapidly inflating costs of just maintaining, much less continuing to enhance, our military establishment threatened to break the budget.  Diefenbaker didn't scrap the Arrow because he hated the plane or AV Roe or whatever; he did so because his admirals and generals and some of his air marshals and his senior bureaucrats told him that developing that plane – maybe any plane, no matter how great or 'near great' or just pretty good – would consume the entire defence budget, the ongoing to project to re-equip the army (M113 APCs, for example) would die.  HMCS Bonaventure wasn't sold off because she wasn't a very useful ship for North Atlantic ASW operations – we couldn't afford her, plain and simple.  The litany goes on and on but the problem remains, in 2007 – see my comments elsewhere re: why doubling the defence budget by 2030 means disarming Canada.
UNQUOTE.
(The coloured highlight is my addition.)

Are we (the western nations) coming to a period when it will no longer be feasible to create, maintain and renew state of the art military forces?  If the US can't maintain than there is no reason to believe that the Canadian government can without either downsizing or keeping obsolete equipment well past its prime.  Or, and this is the big or, re-allocating billions of dollars from social programs to the military.  No matter which party is in power, that will never happen.

Dan.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2007, 21:09:12 »
The US has made a commitment to national defense. The defense budget is sort of based on the 2 war scenario. Its skewed somewhat by war spending. The services have their sacred cows which they will defend to the bitter end. The USAF sacred cow is the fighter/manned bomber and they will fund those systems at the expense of transport aircraft. I will say that the USAF has not bought enough transport aircraft to meet their requirements under the Quadrennial Defense Review. We need at least 200 C-17's and a replacement for the C-5, but it wont happen unless Congress pushes it.

Aircraft and naval platforms are getting increasingly expensive. Part of the problem is that the bosses gold plate these systems which make them more expensive. We couldnt mass produce these systems in a WW2 type scenario if we tried. It is true these sytems are far more powerful than the generation they replace but we just cant buy enough aircraft because they are so expensive or destroyers. Years ago under Reagan the plan was for a 600 ship Navy and now we struggle to maintain half that amount. We used to have several thousand combat aircraft in the USAF now its half what we had during Vietnam. What will it cost us 30 years from now to maintain our current force ?

I read a book back in 1973 that discussed this very problem. The more a system costs the fewer you can afford. Unless we stop this cycle we will see an air force of 100 combat aircraft and maybe 100 surface ships. Can we maintain our military commitments under this scenario ? I would say no. It will be easier to maintain land power in the future than the air and naval forces as land power is more manpower intensive. A partial solution is to design and field durable surface and air platforms without gold plating these weapons.

Offline Sherwood4459

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2007, 01:48:32 »
Couple questions for wiser heads:

-What happened with the old Hi/Lo Mix .  Buy a limited amount of top line systems and then a large number of cheap systems.  Does every fighter plane the USAF buys really need to have stealth?  Couldn't you get by with a limited amount of F-22/F-35 and then have a large number of non-stealth warplanes, F-16's, A-10's-  (the F-20 Tigershark was a favorite of mind that was never put into production).  In high threat areas the F22/F35 would be the spearhead, complemented and support by the cheaper non stealth warplanes.  In lower threat areas you wouldn't waste very costly stealth aircraft on mission that doesn't really need them.

I will say that the USAF has not bought enough transport aircraft to meet their requirements under the Quadrennial Defense Review. We need at least 200 C-17's and a replacement for the C-5, but it wont happen unless Congress pushes it.

I agree. The USAF is always going to put they main mission of seizing control of the air first,  CAS maybe second,  Transport needs are going come last.     

 Would one way be to relieve them of the decision.  Making a separate Logistic Service would be out,  but what about adding a Chief of Logistic and Transport along side the Service Chiefs on the JCS,  removed from the USAF, Navy and Army.  You would have a dedicated entity whose job is to filling the logistical requirements of the US military.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2007, 09:23:54 »
Many good points. The hi - low mix resulted in the F-15 and F16 and worked out rather well. The next generation version may be the F-22 and F-35 although there are problems with the F-35 which is causing delays. Although against the price of the F-22 any other aircraft would seem to be low cost.

A seperate entity dedicated to logistics would involve a fight with the USAF over who would own the transport aircraft. Rather we just need to get the USAF on board with the need for more cargo/transport aircraft. At one point the USAF was to have airlift for 2 divisions. Then that requirement over time shrunk to 1 division and now we are lucky to be able to lift a brigade. The USAF sold the C-17 as a 1-1 replacement for our large C-141 fleet[241ac].But initial C-17 orders were less than half. Congress actually had to force the USAF to buy more aircraft.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2007, 20:40:39 »
How "Lo" in the "Hi-Lo" mix do you want to go?

It seems that somebody wants to dust off the old Sandy/Skyraider/Mustang/Tiffie prints again.

On the other hand they only have to be faster than anything the Taliban Air Force has.   ;)

Cheaper than an F35, a C130 OR an AH-64 I'm guessing - And you take Fighter Jocks out of their training regime early on in the programme.  You don't even have to wait for them to graduate from the Hawks. ;D

Quote
October 2007

Shades of World War II Fighters

By Robert H. Williams

A start-up company in Canton, Ohio, is developing a single engine, turbo prop aircraft that is being touted as a low cost, high endurance alternative to conventional jet aircraft.

U.S. Aircraft Corp. officials say the A-67 Dragon will be used for combat strikes, intelligence gathering, counterinsurgency, border patrol and other missions. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67 power plant that is capable of producing 1,200 horsepower, the side-by-side two seater aircraft can carry 3,000 pounds of sensors and weapons on four external hard-points, a centerline mounting rack or wingtip missile rails, says the company.

Economy, 10-hour flight endurance and relatively simple maintenance requirements are other selling points cited by U.S. Aircraft.

“We call it the Ford tractor principle. You want a machine that’s simple, easy to operate and runs all the time,” says Raymond Williams, founder of the company.

Several other aircraft companies are currently working on comparable mission aircraft that are aimed at U.S. customers and overseas markets.

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Offline razorguns

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2007, 14:46:18 »
makes u wonder where that $12 billion/month is going if the AF is pressed for cash, and soldiers have to buy their own body armor and helmets :)

the non-public portions of our base are so run-down and poorly equipped, it's kinda embarassing.   u should see our bathrooms.  :)

r

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2007, 14:54:01 »
The California National Guard should spend some money then.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2007, 13:56:05 »
Update:

Air Force Getting Too Small, Too Old
http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,154756,00.html?wh=wh

Quote
The secretary of the Air Force and the service's top officer told Congress they are worried the force is getting too small and its aircraft are getting too old to respond immediately to a new major threat overseas.

"It would be a challenge. We would break all the rules and all the established procedures to be able to deliver whatever [the combat commanders] required," Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

"But the question is the capacity, the sustainability and reliability of some of these older platforms to be able to do that."

Secretary Michael Wynne reiterated plans to draw down the active-duty force by 5,600 airmen in the coming year, but said the cost-cutting move is hurting the readiness of the force.

"It is an unpleasant reality that at some point we will be too small," he said. "But budget pressures are forcing us to be a smaller Air Force, whether it starts with equipment or people."

Wynne estimated the force needs another $20 billion per year to boost its research and production lines to replace the service's aging aircraft.

He acknowledged that sum is an unlikely request, but warned that shortfalls in the force's transport and attack capabilities already are starting to increase.

"I have been told the Air Force isn't 'bleeding,' and we all grieve for the Army and the Marines," he said. "We are working hard to set the conditions for victory with them. But when the Air Force does bleed, I worry some enemy will discover that we have forfeited air dominance."..

Mark
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2007, 18:56:51 »
Typical comments intended to get more budget dollars. Both the USAF and USN are used to getting the lions share of the defense budget but with the war in Iraq/Afghanistan the budget has shifted to fund the needs of the ground forces.

The USAF has the F-22 which is intended to replace the F-15 in the air superiority role. The F-35 which is also intended to replace the F-16 and F-16 Strike Eagle. The C-17 is proving its worth and there is a need for more of these versatile aircraft. The C-5 needs a replacement program. The USAF has 3 types of heavy bombers. The defense budget is not bottomless so we cant afford to replace aircraft one for one at least at todays current costs. A USAF fighter wing used to have 72 aircraft now it might be 54 combat aircraft. Wings used to be commanded by Colonels in some cases we see BG's in command. There are cost overruns in almost every key USAF program which wastes valuable budget dollars.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2007, 15:29:12 »
USAF tanker troubles (plus C-5As and C-130Es) (usual copyright disclaimer) :
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/28/AR2007102801125.html

Quote
Once a week, at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, a crew chief on a tug tows one of a dozen or more aging KC-135E flying tankers a short distance just to keep the tires from going flat. Every 25 to 30 days, each of the planes is taxied to a special spot just to sit while its engines run so that the aircraft can be kept on a congressionally mandated standby status.

Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley bluntly told the House Armed Services Committee in a written statement last week that "the Eisenhower administration-era, KC-135Es, that have served our nation so well for 50 years, have exceeded available engineering data and we can no longer anticipate what element of the weapon system will fail next."
   
In its new budget request, the Air Force wants to retire 85 of the planes. It considers 52 of them "parked," which means pilots do not fly them anymore, and 21 of the aircraft are officially grounded because commanders believe they are unsafe.

Even those KC-135Es that do take off don't go far. "We can only fly the KC-135Es in the vicinity of the airfield," which means McGuire and Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where they are based, Moseley said. "We don't deploy them, we can't take them into theater, we can't lift the weight."

But despite those concerns, he said, "We are prohibited from retiring any . . . during fiscal 2008."

Those prohibitions come from Congress, and Moseley's plea last week was "for Congress to please give us the authority to manage our inventory so we don't waste crew chiefs and manpower and time and money on these airplanes."

But KC-135Es are not the only aircraft that Congress has prohibited the Air Force from retiring. Other language in law affects Lockheed's C-5A Galaxy giant transport, the C-130E Hercules light transport and other aircraft. Legislators are acting either to keep open Air Force bases in their districts or to continue contracts for the companies that make or rebuild the planes.

Congress in the fiscal 2004 budget prohibited the retirement of C-5As, which then numbered 111. Last year it legislated that the Air Force should try to update the older C-5As, but questions arose when the estimated cost surpassed $11 billion.

Meanwhile, Moseley said, "We can fly them [C-5As)] in America for outsized cargo locally. We would just not take them overseas." One result: When the Air Force needed to carry heavy cargo such as the new mine-resistant vehicle, known as MRAP, to Iraq, it rented Russian Antonov airplanes to help carry the load [emphasis added].

Language in the fiscal 2007 Defense Authorization Bill permitted retirement of 51 C-130Es. But, as Moseley and Wynne told the House committee last week, each that was retired had to be maintained "in a condition that allows recall of that aircraft to future service even though they may not be flyable." The Senate Armed Services Committee continued that provision in its version of the fiscal 2008 bill, saying those retired last year will be kept "in a condition that will permit recall of such aircraft to future service."

Moseley and Wynne pointed out to the House panel that C-130Es average "more than 43 years old," and "more than 20% of them are grounded or have flight restrictions preventing them from being useful to the Air Force." In addition, Moseley said the commander at Ramstein Air Base in Germany said a C-130E there "is so broke we can't operate it and we have four so restricted that we can't lift any cargo other than the crew [emphasis added]."..

Mark
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2007, 14:48:31 »
Hope it's not metal fatigue:

F-15 fleet grounded after a jet falls apart
The aging planes are the nation's most sophisticated front-line fighters.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-f156nov06,0,7052818.story?coll=la-tot-national&track=ntothtml

Quote
The Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of F-15s, the service's premier fighter aircraft, after one of the planes disintegrated over eastern Missouri during a training mission, raising the possibility of a fatal flaw in the aging fighters' fuselage that could keep it out of the skies for months.

Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, ordered the grounding Saturday after initial reports indicated that the Missouri Air National Guard fighter plane had broken apart Friday in midair during a simulated dogfight. The pilot ejected and survived.
 
Although the 688 F-15s in the Air Force's arsenal are gradually being replaced by a new generation of aircraft -- the F-22 -- they remain the nation's most sophisticated front-line fighters.

U.S. officials said that the F-15s are heavily used for protecting the continental U.S. from terrorist attacks, as well as for combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, the Air Force officer in charge of military aircraft in the Middle East, said in a statement Monday that he would be able to fill the gap with other fighters and bombers in his arsenal.

But another Air Force official said the F-15 grounding would have a "significant impact" on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ][emphasis added]. "They will clearly have to work hard to pick up the slack," the official said.

The health of the F-15 fleet has long been a concern for Air Force brass, who repeatedly have warned that the two-engine fighter has exceeded its expected life span and is straining under the workload imposed by the counter-terrorism duty.

In addition, Moseley has repeatedly raised concerns that the plane is inadequate for increasingly sophisticated air defense systems being developed by potential adversaries like China and Iran.

"The F-15s . . . they're very capable airplanes," Moseley told a congressional hearing last month. "But against the new-generation threat systems, they don't have the advantage that we had when they were designed in the late 1960s and built in the 1970s."

In May, another Missouri Air National Guard F-15 crashed in southern Indiana during a similar training exercise. That pilot survived as well.

The F-15 that crashed Friday was 27 years old. Of the five different versions of the F-15 currently used by the Air Force, four versions average between 24 and 30 years of age.

The F-15E, the newest version, is only 15 1/2 years old, but it has been grounded along with the other versions because it has a similar airframe.

Air Force leaders have frequently cited the age and obsolescence of the F-15 as the main reason to buy the new, more stealthy F-22, the most expensive fighter ever made...

Loren Thompson, a military analyst with the Lexington Institute who has consulted for aircraft manufacturers, said the accident was probably caused by metal fatigue, corrosion or faulty maintenance.

If maintenance problems turn out to be the culprit, Thompson said, the F-15 fleet could be returned to flight relatively quickly. Similarly, corrosion could be addressed by examining other aircraft for similar problems.

If the Missouri crash was the result of metal fatigue, however, it could lead to a much more extended grounding, since it would suggest that time and intense use of the aircraft since the Sept. 11 attacks have finally caught up with the aging fighter.

"The whole fleet was already flying on flight restrictions due to metal fatigue," said Thompson, noting that a fleetwide grounding is extremely rare, especially for a fighter...

Mark
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Offline S.M.A.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2007, 16:51:21 »
The USAF's F15s are grounded again barely more than a week after they were given the go-ahead to start flying again following that recent midair breakup of one F-15. This is worrying because this can remind anyone that a number of our own aircraft in Aircom are aging as well and could have the same problems, especially since it's been mentioned on other threads here a number of times how our aircraft are getting "old".

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,157157,00.html

Quote
F-15s Ordered Grounded Once Again
Military.com  |  By Bryant Jordan  |  November 28, 2007
Barely more than a week after returning the F-15 Eagle fleet to flight the Air Force is once again grounding most of the planes, Military.com has learned.

F-15 models A through D -- a total of 442 planes -- were ordered grounded by Air Combat Command,Langley Air Force Base, Va., late on Nov. 27, ACC spokesman Maj. Thomas Crosson said in an interview.

The latest problem is with cracks in the planes' metal support beams, called longerons, that run the length of the aircraft, and make up the sill on which the canopy sits, Crosson told Military.com.

The entire F-15 fleet was ordered grounded in early November after the break up and crash of a Missouri Air National Guard Eagle. The Air Force began lifting the restrictions on the fleet Nov. 19 - starting with F-15E Strike Eagles -  following aggressive inspections of the planes.

ACC called for the new groundings after metallurgical analysis of the planes suggested there could be possible cracking problems with the longerons.

Officials now are working at Warner Robins Air Force Base, Ga., to develop an inspection list that will be sent out to F-15 maintainers across the Air Force.
 
Crosson said the list should be completed in a day or two, and will include a timeframe for how long the actual inspections should take.

He could not say how long it would before the latest restrictions would be lifted from the entire fleet.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 16:57:29 by CougarDaddy »
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2007, 15:17:25 »
At least the conspiracy theory of intention is debunked.  But still good ammo for USAF for F-22s and 35s:

The Real Story Behind the F-15 Stand-Down: News Analysis
When four of the world’s premier jet fighters crash, the military pays attention. When every F-15 in the world is ordered to stay on the ground, the rumor mill gets in gear. Investigators open up in a PM exclusive
(Nov. 16)
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/4231807.html?series=36

Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2007, 15:21:49 »
Here we go again...USAF F15 fleet grounded a 3rd time.

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,157619,00.html?wh=wh

Quote
F-15s Grounded for a Third Time
Northwest Florida Daily News  |  By Mladen Rudman  |  December 05, 2007
EGLIN AFB -- On average in the past month, the Air Combat Command issued an order every 9.6 days to stop F-15s from flying until specified airworthiness inspections were completed.

The most recent grounding came Tuesday. It's the third one and could end up being the lengthiest.

F-15A, B, C and D models are affected. Two-seat fighterbomber versions of the F-15 known as Strike Eagles continue to fly.

The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base had returned to the sky only a couple of days ago before its dozens of F-15Cs and Ds were grounded again. Its maintainers were well on their way to finishing Eagle inspections as a result of the second stand-down.

Although the air-to-air combat Eagles aren't flying, fighter wing spokeswoman Capt. Brooke Brander said there's still plenty for airmen to do.

"On the flying side of the house, they're spending time on academics ... as well as flying in simulators," she said.

The simulators are networked so Eagle pilots around the country can train against each other.

Maintainers, which earlier in the week were described as doing a masterful job in getting F-15s inspected after the second standdown, have routine and periodic maintenance to perform.

The other Eglin units that operate F-15s are the 46th Test Wing and 53rd Wing.

The trio of Eagle standdowns sprouted after a Missouri Air National Guard F-15 crashed Nov. 2 during training because of a structural failure.

The ongoing investigation uncovered Monday "possible fleet-wide airworthiness problems ... related to areas beyond those previously inspected," according to the Air Combat Command. Upper longerons, which help connect the cockpit to the rest of the aircraft, were among the F-15 parts checked previously.

Air Combat Command spokeswoman Maj. Kristi Beckman added that the order will last until the crash investigation is completed and inspections and remedial repairs are made.

It's unclear how long that would take.

The grounded F-15s could be mobilized if there's a national emergency.

Beckman noted that Operation Noble Eagle patrols, which protect American airspace, are being handled by F-16s, Navy aircraft and the Canadian air force.

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2007, 15:55:11 »
More:

Air Force grounds F-15s again after cracks found
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Dec/10/ln/hawaii712100337.html/?print=on

Quote
TOKYO — Cracks were found in two F-15s deployed in Japan during an investigation that followed the crash of the fighter jet in the United States last month, the U.S. military said Thursday.

The cracks were in the upper longerons — parts near the canopy — on two of the aircraft, which were among 30 inspected F-15s deployed at the Kadena Air Base on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, the Air Force said.

The Air Force issued a third flight suspension order for the fighters worldwide since an F-15C crashed in Missouri last month, injuring its pilot.

Metallurgical analysis of the crashed Missouri aircraft drew attention to the upper longerons near the canopy.

The Hawai'i Air National Guard has 18 of the twin-tail fighters, which serve in a homeland defense role for the state. The aircraft also are available for worldwide taskings.

In the interim, Hawai'i had been covered by F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Minnesota Air National Guard.

Hawai'i has A, B, and C models that are on average 25 years old, officials said.

The Air Force said the longerons, which are major structural components that run the length of the aircraft on its side, appeared to have cracked and failed.

Suspect aircraft also were identified in Oregon and Florida.

Hawai'i National Guard spokesman Capt. Jeff Hickman said all three inspections have been completed on the Hawai'i aircraft, with no structural issues found.

"They're complying with everything," Hickman said. "We're just pretty much waiting to find out if they get any more details from that Missouri crash."

The Air Force said the F-15s will not return to operation until analysis, as well as necessary inspections and repairs are completed.

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force said its inspection of all its roughly 200 F-15 jets since the crash has found no problems.

More than 700 F-15s are in its worldwide inventory, according the Air Force. F-15s fly from bases in the U.S., England, Japan and the Middle East...
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline Pencil Tech

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2007, 16:09:28 »
Hmmm, war with Venezuela?  :o Well at least it's not that far away.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2007, 08:50:23 »
Dec. 23--more work for CF-18s in Alaska? (usual copyright disclaimer):

Major flaws may ground older F-15s
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2004088519_jet23.html

Quote
WASHINGTON — Air Force inspectors have discovered major structural flaws in eight older-model F-15 fighters, sparking a new round of examinations that could ground all of the older Boeing-made jets into January or beyond, senior Air Force and defense officials said.

The Air Force's 442 F-15A through F-15D planes, the mainstay of the nation's air-to-air combat force for 30 years, have been grounded since November, soon after one broke into large chunks and crashed in rural Missouri.

Since then, Air Force officials have found cracks in the main support beams behind the cockpits of eight other F-15s and fear similar problems could exist in others.

Current and former Air Force officials said the grounding is the longest that U.S. fighter jets have been kept out of the air and that even if the jets are cleared, it could take six months to get the pilots and aircraft back to their normal status.

The F-15A-Ds — on average 25 years old — are responsible for defending the United States, including flying combat air-patrol missions over Washington, a job now filled by F-16s.

The disclosure of the cracks comes amid intense Air Force lobbying for the purchase of additional new fighter jets.

The Air Force wants to replace its aging F-15s with 200 more F-22 Raptors beyond the 183 approved by Congress and the Defense Department.

The F-22s, which cost $132 million each, are manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

The fighter jets' grounding does not involve the fleet of 224 F-15Es, which support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mark
Ottawa
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.