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Marines scrounging parts from the museum to keep planes flying!

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posted on Mar, 23 2016 @ 11:36 PM
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Zaph has said a few times on here about the problems with an aging fleet of airframes and how it's impacting readiness numbers but it looks like it's becoming a real problem. This might just be a single example but with 4 squadrons (about a third of those flying the Hornet) flying the D model it's a pretty grim picture. From the article it sounds like the Army has a similar readiness problem but the thing that stands out is that even if there is an increase in the money available in the 2017 budget the Chairman of the JCS says

"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."

Wow. They talk about a fiscal bow wave that means everything comes at once. It looks like is sure has!

Help, where's the museum??
edit on 23-3-2016 by Donkey09 because: adding link.




posted on Mar, 23 2016 @ 11:48 PM
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Yet our leaders have somehow billions of billions arms to terrorists in Syria.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 12:02 AM
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a reply to: TaleDawn

Money isn't the problem. For the Navy to catch up on Hornet maintenance they'd have to stand the entire fleet down for six to eight months and run them through the Depot.

The problem is time. They can either stand down large portions of the fleets, and risk the pilots losing proficiency and having to start basically from scratch, or they can take time, keep proficiency and flying time up, and run a hamster wheel where the aircraft that went through first have to go back as the back end is catching up.

They talk about the money being key, and on some level it is, but old fleets and higher maintenance requirements are the real problem.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:05 AM
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This marks a much bigger problem we have, the west is dumbed down. In every facet of our life we are accepting lower standards of everything, from passing grades to quality of workmanship. We now accept things to be of lesser quality and reliability than before because of many reasons and spare parts seem to be a huge issue with everything from Plant to Planes.

I see it now with who we accept as Apprentices to do a trade and what is expected of them, 30 years ago we were taught how to file, cut, grind, weld, machine, mill, shape, tig, mig and manufacture tools to use that met very high precision standards. Now an apprentice can hardly even use a hack saw when we get them and its not even an expectation for them to even make a simple bracket which gets the crux of my point.

The West has allowed all the skill to bleed to foreign Countries and we no longer have the basic need to do anything but sit back in our arm chairs and drink soda whilst watching someone on tv portray a lifestyle we dream of. This is a rant but I will say this...we are one EMP event away from the next stone age.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:12 AM
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a reply to: mazzroth

The problem isn't the dumbing down of the West, it's the fact that they don't make spares for planes that are 30 years old. There is some commonality between the F-18C/D and the E/F, but there is a lot that is unique to each model. You're going to have a hard time finding parts for an 84 Datsun 210 too, does that mean it's because the West is dumbed down?

The Marine F-18 fleet is averaging 28 for the A model, 21 for the C, and 20 for the D. The oldest of each is 28, 25, and 25, respectively, and they were planned to last 15 years, before they went through the SLEP. With the exception of the KC-130J, AH-1Z, UH-1Y, and MV-22B, every aircraft fleet in the Marine inventory is either approaching 20 years, or is over 20 years, in the case of the CH-46 and UH-1N, well over 20 (45 and 41 respectively).

The Air Force is worse, but has more aircraft to spread the workload out over.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:03 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: mazzroth

The problem isn't the dumbing down of the West, it's the fact that they don't make spares for planes that are 30 years old. There is some commonality between the F-18C/D and the E/F, but there is a lot that is unique to each model. You're going to have a hard time finding parts for an 84 Datsun 210 too, does that mean it's because the West is dumbed down?

The Marine F-18 fleet is averaging 28 for the A model, 21 for the C, and 20 for the D. The oldest of each is 28, 25, and 25, respectively, and they were planned to last 15 years, before they went through the SLEP. With the exception of the KC-130J, AH-1Z, UH-1Y, and MV-22B, every aircraft fleet in the Marine inventory is either approaching 20 years, or is over 20 years, in the case of the CH-46 and UH-1N, well over 20 (45 and 41 respectively).

The Air Force is worse, but has more aircraft to spread the workload out over.


But that in itself is a major problem. You're either going to have to get things out or long term storage, get them ready to fly and use the broken thing for spares or start looking through the fleet for none flying examples that can be cannibalized. Both options are going to take manpower away from where it's needed and exasperate the problem.

Reading through the article it's got to the point where availability is having a direct impact on pilot proficiency. The hidden cost will be in the staff retention numbers. If maintenance guys are overworked and under increased pressure to keep things flying they'll start to leave. If pilots can't fly they'll start to leave. Once that starts to happen the cost of bringing in newer, less qualified and experienced staff is huge. As is their learning curve leading to things taking longer again.

It's a dangerous position. We're in the same position in the UK where the number of people leaving the forces is way way bigger than it's been in the past and the pressure on those left in is increasing all the time. Deployment times are extended, rotations increased etc.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:13 AM
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Don't worry! 3D printing will save the day.

Besides, that is "all that Hollywood stuff" anyways. There is more better stuff up there than we (some of us) can imagine.

One day the world view will change. And a mere 30 year old plane will seem quaint!



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:52 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Geeez mate, why do i even bother. Why do you think we can't make those spares anymore ? get the old part and fix it !!!! this idea of just changing out a part for a new one is the exact point I am trying to get across here. REPAIR IT OR MAKE A NEW ONE !



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 08:32 AM
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a reply to: mazzroth

It's not that they CAN'T make them, they DON'T make them. Would you keep making parts for a 30 year old car? Or would you concentrate on the 10 year old cars that are more common? The companies that make the parts are concentrating on newer things instead of continuing to make parts and ending up with hundreds of parts that they may never be able to sell, and having them sit on the shelf for years to come, and losing money on them. Some of those parts are one time change parts under normal conditions, and others may never have to be changed.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 08:33 AM
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a reply to: Donkey09

I've been saying something along those lines for almost 10 years. Heh. It's finally catching up, and the reality is hitting home.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 11:56 AM
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Umm. This problem is real. As a former F-14 guy, I can tell you that we robbed parts from lots of places. But this story has some holes in it.

The hornet in the photo is an A model. First, the A and C variants are single seat. The B and D are 2 seaters. You can just make out the F/A-18 A on the empennage just above the BUNO. Which, doing a quick Google search "Buno 162435" will show you how that aircraft was damaged and its pilot killed in a mishap. It also shows that it's an F-18A.

I think it's just a typical, bad journalist, but it undermines the story a bit.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 12:19 PM
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a reply to: cosmania

Oh it's quite real. There are a number of Air Force aircraft that were determined to be unsafe to continue flying, but had to be kept on the books. So they cannibalized them. The ones that are in better condition get taxied around every few weeks, to keep seals intact and parts lubricated. The ones that are in worse shape get towed so they can say they are still being utilized.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:22 PM
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And now there's this.


Rising operations and support costs could affect the Air Force’s ability to modernize as it prepares to fund the F-35 joint strike fighter, KC-46 tanker and long-range strike bomber in the mid-2020s, service officials and experts said.

One cost driver that has been scrutinized in recent months is the extension of aircraft beyond their anticipated life spans. The service’s planes average more than 27 years in the fleet, according to Air Force Materiel Command documents.

“Some of the challenge with the rising costs is the fact that the parts aren’t available,” said Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of AFMC. She noted that with older platforms many of the companies that once supplied aircraft components have gone out of business.

At the same time, skills that were required to sustain those aircraft decades ago may not be relevant anymore, she said. For example, some systems still use floppy disks, which may not be familiar to modern maintainers, Pawlikowski said.

“As the age of aircraft increase, the amount of maintenance they require goes up,” said Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That’s not much of a surprise. It’s like if you have an old car, more things are going to break. That’s part of what’s happening because the average age of aircraft in the Air Force inventory has been getting older and older. Now it’s the oldest it has ever been.”

www.nationaldefensemagazine.org...

They are actually planning on retiring the oldest and most maintenance intensive E-3s, just so they can keep a parts inventory for the parts that aren't made anymore. The TF33 engines that are in storage now are the last ones out there, except the ones on the E-3, B-52, and E-8. They're having serious trouble finding some of the necessary parts and in a few cases had to steal from a stored engine to get them.
edit on 3/24/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That's the problem when all you have for squadron level maintenance are part changers. Nobody fixes anything any more, they troubleshoot to the component level and replace the faulty component. This isn't a new problem. I was on deployment in 1984 in the IO. We had to change a high time engine. They took one out of the canister, ran it up on the test stand and gave it to us. We changed it out, did a maintenance check flight and it was bad. We got another one and it was bad. For over a two months we operated six helicopters with ten engines. We would put an aircraft into corrosion inspection, pull it's engines and put them into the aircraft coming out of inspection. We were averaging four engine changes a week. We got GOOD at it. It took them that long to determine that we had good engines, the calibration system on the test stand was faulty. It took two weeks to fly out a civilian to re-calibrate the test stand.

In my opinion the military is relying too much on civilian technicians and has lost the capability to fully maintain their aircraft.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 01:53 PM
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a reply to: JIMC5499

The rush to save money in the 80s and 90s saw a lot of good things go away. They shifted a big part of the work force went civilian to save money. The Depot is largely civilian workers now.

And it shows.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:01 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Tell me about it. You should have seen some of the things that we found when we did an acceptance inspection on an aircraft from NARF. I still have the Snap on 1/4" drive socket set I found in the tailboom of an SH-3H.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:06 PM
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a reply to: JIMC5499

We had an EC that you never had to touch the trim on. Thing never broke, and was a dream to deal with. It went to PDM, and they put the wings back on crooked. Thing was never right again.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:09 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

You know I was speaking to a limo company that rented out those classic cars for weddings.

When it came to the Rolls Royce's any time they needed a part. Rolls would create the part for them when needed.

I'm surprised that, especially with 3d printing tech, they could not create the parts. Or that the Air Force itself would have a shop that could make those parts. Or even find a machine shop that would love to get the contract for making parts.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:13 PM
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a reply to: grey580

You're talking about a technology that's a few years old. A lot of the companies that made the original parts are gone. Either out of business or folded into another company. Then the ones that are still around no longer have the tooling or people around that made the original pays.

A part for a classic car can be similar enough that you can get away with something more modern that's similar, or modern tooling. A TF33 hasn't been built new in 30+ years.



posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 02:25 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

hrmm....

I'm seeing a lot of new technology coming out. Both in the 3d printing space and 3d scanning space.

A smart company could get an old plane. Rip it apart and scan all the parts from it.

Then manufacture 3D printed parts for the Air Force cheaply.




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