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    #46
    Interesting article about the aging fleet:

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us...ot-enough-cash

    The U.S. Air Force’s planes are old—and getting older. The average Air Force plane is 28 years old, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That means hundreds, if not thousands, of Air Force pilots are flying planes built before they were born.

    Replacing huge numbers of aging aircraft with newer models could be very, very expensive—up to $26 billion annually by the mid-2030s.
    And that’s before taking into account the flying branch’s ambitious plan to stand up 74 new squadrons.

    Barring some radical shift in the cost of new technology, future administrations could face a difficult choice: Either boost Air Force budgets to Cold War levels or higher, or shrink the flying branch to an affordable size.

    “Growing the force is going to compete directly with modernizing the force,” Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., told Breaking Defense, a trade publication.

    Today the Air Force possesses around 5,600 aircraft in 312 squadrons, making it by far the biggest air force in the world.

    The average plane is old, however. Thanks to the government’s military spending spree in the 1980s and a subsequent decline in spending in the mid-’90s, no fewer than 1,900 of the Air Force’s most important warplanes—including most of its A-10, F-16 and F-15 fighters—are between 26 and 40 years old, according to a December Congressional Budget Office report. Most people replace their cars every six years, according to Autotrader. But the Air Force might hold on to a fighter jet for nearly half a century. And the youngest B-52 bomber in the American arsenal was built when John F. Kennedy was still in the White House.

    “The older the aircraft get, the more difficult it becomes to replace or repair components,” Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, an Air Force vice chief of staff, told a House of Representatives subcommittee in May. Five of the Air Force’s T-38 training jets—each nearly 50 years old—have crashed in the last year, killing two people.

    The flying branch needs to replace a lot of planes in a short span of time, Heather Wilson, the service’s civilian leader, said in a March statement. “The Air Force must manage a bow wave in modernization over the next 10 years.”

    And it’s going to cost. The CBO projected that, if the Air Force replaced each old plane with a single new one possessing similar capabilities, the branch’s budget for new aircraft would have to rise from around $10 billion in 2018 to $15 billion in the mid- to late 2020s, and to $26 billion in 2033. All figures are in 2018 dollars.

    By comparison, at its modern budgetary peak in 1986, the Air Force got $29 billion for new planes. In other words, to maintain the flying branch at its current size, the Air Force would have to spend money like it did during the Cold War.

    The CBO cautioned against this approach in a separate December report. Noting the federal government's $780 billion budget deficit for 2018, a gap that many experts attribute to the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts, the budget office proposed that the Air Force retire all of its F-22 fighters and B-1 bombers without replacement in order to save as much as $45 billion.

    Cutting the two plane types would reduce the Air Force inventory by around 250 aircraft.

    The problem is, the Air Force can’t risk shrinking or even staying the same size, service leaders say. Instead, it actually needs to get a lot bigger in order to keep pace with the fast-improving Russian and Chinese air arms.

    “We face a more competitive and dangerous international security environment than we have faced in decades,” Wilson said. “Great power competition has re-emerged as the central challenge for U.S. security and prosperity.”

    In September, the Air Force announced it needed to expand to 386 squadrons by 2025, an increase of 74 squadrons from 2018. “This is about how we stay in front,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein stated.

    A single squadron possesses up to 20 aircraft. Not all of the 74 new squadrons the Air Force wants are flying squadrons—some are intelligence, space and missile units—but most of the squadrons would need planes. Potentially hundreds of them, combined.

    Air Force leaders are beginning to lobby for more aircraft on top of the 5,600 planes the service currently possesses. In December, Gen. Stephen Wilson, an Air Force vice chief of staff, told National Defense that the service needs to buy more new B-21 bombers and KC-46 aerial refueling planes than previously planned.

    Acquiring more planes for new squadrons could inflate the cost of re-equipping the Air Force. Forget the $26 billion per year that the CBO projected for the 2030s. The bill could be much higher.

    It’s a price worth paying, said David Deptula, the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies and a retired Air Force lieutenant general.

    “The only thing more expensive than a first-rate Air Force is a second-rate Air Force,” he said. Deptula pointed out that all major U.S. military operations depend on the Air Force controlling the sky.

    Without fighters providing top cover, cargo planes shuttling in supplies and surveillance aircraft keeping tabs on enemy forces, U.S. troops could find themselves out-gunned, underfed and blind, especially in high-intensity combat with a sophisticated enemy possessing its own powerful air force.

    “The Air Force has been significantly underfunded for over two decades,” Deptula added. “Unless this trend is reversed, the U.S. military can expect to suffer significant losses in the next major regional conflict, and risk loss altogether.”

    Comment


      #47
      Originally posted by Pat M View Post
      Interesting article about the aging fleet:

      https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-us...ot-enough-cash

      The U.S. Air Force’s planes are old—and getting older. The average Air Force plane is 28 years old, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That means hundreds, if not thousands, of Air Force pilots are flying planes built before they were born.

      Replacing huge numbers of aging aircraft with newer models could be very, very expensive—up to $26 billion annually by the mid-2030s.
      And that’s before taking into account the flying branch’s ambitious plan to stand up 74 new squadrons.

      Barring some radical shift in the cost of new technology, future administrations could face a difficult choice: Either boost Air Force budgets to Cold War levels or higher, or shrink the flying branch to an affordable size.

      “Growing the force is going to compete directly with modernizing the force,” Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., told Breaking Defense, a trade publication.

      Today the Air Force possesses around 5,600 aircraft in 312 squadrons, making it by far the biggest air force in the world.

      The average plane is old, however. Thanks to the government’s military spending spree in the 1980s and a subsequent decline in spending in the mid-’90s, no fewer than 1,900 of the Air Force’s most important warplanes—including most of its A-10, F-16 and F-15 fighters—are between 26 and 40 years old, according to a December Congressional Budget Office report. Most people replace their cars every six years, according to Autotrader. But the Air Force might hold on to a fighter jet for nearly half a century. And the youngest B-52 bomber in the American arsenal was built when John F. Kennedy was still in the White House.

      “The older the aircraft get, the more difficult it becomes to replace or repair components,” Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, an Air Force vice chief of staff, told a House of Representatives subcommittee in May. Five of the Air Force’s T-38 training jets—each nearly 50 years old—have crashed in the last year, killing two people.

      The flying branch needs to replace a lot of planes in a short span of time, Heather Wilson, the service’s civilian leader, said in a March statement. “The Air Force must manage a bow wave in modernization over the next 10 years.”

      And it’s going to cost. The CBO projected that, if the Air Force replaced each old plane with a single new one possessing similar capabilities, the branch’s budget for new aircraft would have to rise from around $10 billion in 2018 to $15 billion in the mid- to late 2020s, and to $26 billion in 2033. All figures are in 2018 dollars.

      By comparison, at its modern budgetary peak in 1986, the Air Force got $29 billion for new planes. In other words, to maintain the flying branch at its current size, the Air Force would have to spend money like it did during the Cold War.

      The CBO cautioned against this approach in a separate December report. Noting the federal government's $780 billion budget deficit for 2018, a gap that many experts attribute to the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts, the budget office proposed that the Air Force retire all of its F-22 fighters and B-1 bombers without replacement in order to save as much as $45 billion.

      Cutting the two plane types would reduce the Air Force inventory by around 250 aircraft.

      The problem is, the Air Force can’t risk shrinking or even staying the same size, service leaders say. Instead, it actually needs to get a lot bigger in order to keep pace with the fast-improving Russian and Chinese air arms.

      “We face a more competitive and dangerous international security environment than we have faced in decades,” Wilson said. “Great power competition has re-emerged as the central challenge for U.S. security and prosperity.”

      In September, the Air Force announced it needed to expand to 386 squadrons by 2025, an increase of 74 squadrons from 2018. “This is about how we stay in front,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein stated.

      A single squadron possesses up to 20 aircraft. Not all of the 74 new squadrons the Air Force wants are flying squadrons—some are intelligence, space and missile units—but most of the squadrons would need planes. Potentially hundreds of them, combined.

      Air Force leaders are beginning to lobby for more aircraft on top of the 5,600 planes the service currently possesses. In December, Gen. Stephen Wilson, an Air Force vice chief of staff, told National Defense that the service needs to buy more new B-21 bombers and KC-46 aerial refueling planes than previously planned.

      Acquiring more planes for new squadrons could inflate the cost of re-equipping the Air Force. Forget the $26 billion per year that the CBO projected for the 2030s. The bill could be much higher.

      It’s a price worth paying, said David Deptula, the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies and a retired Air Force lieutenant general.

      “The only thing more expensive than a first-rate Air Force is a second-rate Air Force,” he said. Deptula pointed out that all major U.S. military operations depend on the Air Force controlling the sky.

      Without fighters providing top cover, cargo planes shuttling in supplies and surveillance aircraft keeping tabs on enemy forces, U.S. troops could find themselves out-gunned, underfed and blind, especially in high-intensity combat with a sophisticated enemy possessing its own powerful air force.

      “The Air Force has been significantly underfunded for over two decades,” Deptula added. “Unless this trend is reversed, the U.S. military can expect to suffer significant losses in the next major regional conflict, and risk loss altogether.”
      Lots of truths in that article. Similar problems exist across the services, Navy is down ships, training models are being rejiggered after nearly a decade of atrophy and even military leadership has been rebooted after 8 years of yes men, bureaucrats and mass firings of military leadership types. We have the greatest military on the world, despite many artificial and unnecessary burdens being placed upon them, but those days seem to be mostly behind us for now.
      If there is an up side, more of a not as terrible as it sounds side, it is that today’s hardware is so much more technologically advanced than equipment from 3 decades ago. We may have serious problems and lots of work yet to be done but all is not lost.
      Drones, predators and other UAV’s, satellites​​​​​, precision munitions and other goodies offset the deficits in our arsenal. One big problem we can and should do a better job of is educating the enemy. I’ll go airplane to airplane with any other nation but we cannot calculate the effect of MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Perdue and other great American engineering schools where foreign nationals come here, get edumacated and then return home to use those educations against us.
      We need to build, build, build but we need to look at the human factor too...I’d like to believe we are but I’m not convinced.

      Comment


        #48
        Yep, it's all over. This is from 2016:
        Marines Scrounge Yorktown Museum F-18 For Spare Parts; How Bad Is It?
        CORRECTED: Model of the F-18. It’s an A. CAPITOL HILL: House defense Republicans really do seem worried that US weapons are so old, new gear so rare and training dollars so short that US troops may soon begin paying the ultimate price for the military’s creaky state after 15 years of war. As with every problem, you need an easily understandable and shocking example of just how bad things are to jumpstart jaundiced and overworked lawmakers. So, when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry went to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and heard this story, it became part of yesterday’s hearing with Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joe Dunford. The only mention at the hearing was about aircraft parts being scrounged from a museum. I asked around today and it turns out an F/A-18 based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort that flew in the raid against Libya in 1986 needed a part. The part is no longer made and there were none on hand. Crew and pilots checked the F-18s on display at Beaufort to see if they might find a part. No luck. A lieutenant colonel visiting the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier about two hours away in Charleston, South Carolina. saw an F/A-18 of the same model, a HASC staff member told me today. They scrounged the part from what would appear to be the A D model on the carrier’s deck. (It’s the only F-18 at the Yorktown. And yes, that is a little kid climbing up on Open Cockpit Day!) They got the part, but sadly, it didn’t work. But HASC had its striking example. “It’s emblematic of the readiness problems across the force,” a committee staffer told me. So, Thornberry laid out his case for a readiness crisis at the hearing: “Recently, I have heard first-hand from service members who have looked me in the eye and told of: “trying to cannibalize parts from a museum aircraft in order to get current aircraft ready to fly the overseas mission assigned (See above);  getting aircraft that were sent to the boneyard in Arizona back and ready to fly missions; pilots flying well below the minimum number of hours required for minimal proficiency and flying fewer training hours than the adversaries they are being sent to meet; not having enough senior enlisted people to train and supervise younger ones and those who remain working very long hours day after day; service members buying basic supplies, like pens and cleaning supplies and paper towels out of their own pocket, because otherwise it would take three to four months to get them if they could get them at all. And he hauled out the standard facts service leaders have told Congress for the last few years. “Aviation units in the Marine Corps cannot meet training and mission requirements. With ‘less than one-third of Army forces at acceptable levels of readiness,’ the Army is ‘not at a level that is appropriate for what the American people would expect to defend them,'” Thornberry said. “‘Less than half [of the Air Force] combat forces are ready for… a high-end fight.’ It is the “smallest, oldest, and least ready [force] across the full-spectrum of operations in our history.’ This testimony across the Services is remarkably consistent, candid, and disturbing.” Chairman Dunford told Thornberry he was right that readiness is a problem, but he also said the 2017 budget adequately addresses each services’ needs. The “unstable fiscal environment” created by Congress, combined with an “extraordinarily high operational tempo” is the cause of the readiness worries. How long will it take to fix this? Dunford offered this grim take. The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps will not repair, train and modernize at a fast enough rate until around fiscal 2020. What about the Air Force, the service that has essentially been at war since Kosovo, you ask? The Air Force won’t have high enough readiness levels to cope with a high end war until fiscal 2028. So the budget may meet immediate needs to keep those creaky planes flying and Army tankers familiar enough with their beasts to roll and fire, but it doesn’t really meet our readiness needs, does it?
        Last edited by Dan 0351; 12-26-2018, 08:25 PM.
        No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy

        - U.S. Marines

        Comment


          #49
          I saw a FOX story a while back about how B-1B parts were being pulled from those on display at museums. That's not good.

          Comment

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