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  • Air Force Planes Show Signs of Deterioration

    “Geriatric” and “Decrepit” are terms used to describe America’s aging Air Force. An alarming number of planes are nearly a half-century old, have been rendered obsolete, have far surpassed their original service hours, and are continuing to show signs of deterioration.

    F-15s were first introduced in 1972 and, at the time, had a service life of about 4,000 hours. Since then, the service life of these planes has doubled, and with scheduled defense cuts looming, there is already talk about extending them further.

    Dave Deptula, a retired three-star general, shared his insights and concerns in a recent video produced by The Heritage Foundation.

    General Deptula expresses concerns about the average age of the F-15 C & D models approaching 30 years. In 2007, an F-15 broke in half during a training mission in St. Louis, Missouri. Afterward, every F-15 was grounded, and they remained so for months. Aircraft falling apart is costly during peacetime, but it can be fatal during wartime, warns the General. After earning his wings flying an F-15 in 1977, the General’s own son flew the very same F-15 some 30 years later, while stationed at Kadena Air Force Base in Japan.

    Earlier this year, the B-52 celebrated its 60th anniversary. Older than the F-15, the B-52 bomber is another relic still operated today. While a state-of-the-art plane in the 1960s, its capability to operate against advanced enemy air defenses has been rendered obsolete. The bomber joins a long list of “geriatric planes, ships, and other military assets.”

    A recent report by Fox News named some other fossils on the list. Currently, the U.S. Air Force flies about 400 KC-135s. As the military’s main aerial refueler, the most recent of these planes is nearly a half-century old. Deterioration poses a huge threat to older aircraft. Following the discovery of cracks in their wings, the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolts are currently in the process of being rewinged.

    While the Air Force has developed plans to address aging aircraft, these plans are being pushed back due to military cuts and sequestration. According to Fox News, the Air Force has plans to replace the KC-135 refuelers with new KC-46A refuelers, but, “if Congress has its way, some [KC-135s] could still be taking off well into the 2040s,” which would then make these planes almost 80 years old.

    The U.S. military is deteriorating while others, like China, are modernizing. Military voices—ranging from the current service chiefs and the Secretary of Defense to the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—have urged political leaders to stop the next round of defense cuts that are scheduled to take effect early next year. But these voices have fallen on deaf ears in the Obama Administration, which has made recapitalizing national security its lowest priority.

    Bronson Stocking is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Air Force Planes Show Signs of Deterioration

    1. Bobbie says:

      Why won't Obama see America that way? Her words speak it and her actions prove it. Committed to peace and stability. His words are worth more to Americans, than his truth? That's unacceptable in America's role of leadership. What was his upbringing like in Indonesia? Who was bringing him up? Why did he take the oath of America's office to neglect his duty to protect and secure America's positions around the world? Why is he comfortable ignoring calls for help from Americans facing and killed by terrorists? Why does he compromise America's defense yet prioritizes his idea on how he wants to tax the rich to pay for his governing mistakes and undisciplined behavior? It's funny how those infiltrators got people to think republicans are rich when it's obviously the thieves in the democratic party with all the money, all the manipulation, all the deception, all the misinterpretation, all the killings and all the cover up.

      When people take one man's words without giving another man a chance and the one man's words show untruths that the one man hides while the other man has truth to back him, shows sadly this country is poorly educated, wrongly influenced and led by less than leadership of narrow minds!

      America has no reason that those in control are deviant not to have all areas of America's military defense fully equipped and up to date at all times. America is committed to peace and stability and defends to protect all with the same goal!

      America values human life that this President seems bothered by and unconcerned.

      People that don't know how this country was founded to operate has no reason to vote or take public office, yet that's Obama's win.

    2. @ExpertNDT says:

      As a family man, I've had to make responsible financial decisions in my own home. Can I afford a new car or should I buy a good used car and maintain it well? A new car is great if you can afford it.

      Pandering for more spending as illustrated above is fine. But the reality is that we are in a vast economic slump. It is also a reality that virtually every component of the so-called aging F-15 has been replaced with new components. So, while the General (ret) reports that his son is flying the same aircraft, well that's just twisting the words. His son is flying the same tail number.

      Perhaps, instead of hiring a retired General, to make an expensive video, in an attempt to sway public opinion over DOD spending on new aircraft, common sense will enter the political dialogue.

      Hopefully before Congress decides to throw more of the public's hard earned wealth into the bottomless vacuum the DOD will consider augmenting the already in place Air Force 2A7X2 career field with civilian NDT companies. Extend the life-span and ensure the air worthiness of existing airframes is the primary function of Nondestructive Testing.

      As I've stated, the F-15s you see flying today are NOT the same physical structures first rolled out of the assembly line. They are modified, enhanced and vastly superior to the original. If the Air Force is now exclaiming that the current F-15 fleet is not airworthy then they need to be grounded and sent off to the bone yards. As you can see there is no mad rush to ground the fleet, these aircraft are fit to fight. And to a great measure we owe their current life-span to Nondestructive Testing.

      The choice is fairly simple, buy the new car or buy the good used car and maintain it. If it is to be maintained the first call should be to http://www.expertndt.com

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