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The B-1 and the maintenance problem

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posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 02:15 AM
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The B-1 has been the workhorse of the Air Force for the last 15 years, and it's catching up to it. Of the 62 aircraft in the inventory, on any given day, approximately 25 are available. The B-2, which requires special care for the skin to maintain its stealth, requires approximately 43 man hours of maintenance between flights. The B-1, which doesn't have any special requirements, needs approximately 150.

That puts it by far as the most maintenance intensive platform in the AF inventory. Approximately 17% of missions flown by a B-1 end with the aircraft landing NMC and unavailable for its next flight. Maintenance starts as soon as the wheels are chocked after a flight. The crew is interviewed for any problems during the flight, followed by a walk around inspection to check for missing or cracked panels.

In 2016, the bombers were pulled from the fight against ISIS, to get needed upgrades, including new cockpits. The upgrades take almost a year per aircraft, at 243 days, but will hopefully reduce some of the required maintenance between flights.

www.stripes.com...




posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 02:17 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Will more planes be put into service?
If so which ones and when?
Is the B2 the most expensive plane ever used?

edit on 27-2-2017 by D8Tee because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 02:27 AM
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a reply to: D8Tee

Not for the B-1.

Actually, as of last year, the E-4B wins as most expensive plane to fly looking at flight hour cost. If you're looking at cost per airframe, the VC-25 wins that one.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 02:30 AM
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Do you know what are the issues that take up most of the maintenance? They mention broken panels, what panels are these? They also said the avionics/cockpit upgrade should reduce the downtime, so what part of this has caused the repairs?



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 02:33 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I was looking at unit cost on wikipedia.
Where's the proper place to look?



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 05:04 AM
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I love the fact that the B-52 will have to keep flying till 2040. Last built unit is from 1962..

Some day, some senior tech will lead a junior into the cockpit, point at a single screw somewhere in there and say "this one is the only part from the original plane!".

Insanity.

On the other hand, the C-160 is going out of maintenance, because there are no more parts being produced. And the Bundeswehr relies on that old beast.. While the A400-M simply has too many technical problems to be in use reliably.
This one is great, too.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 05:08 AM
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a reply to: Forensick

There's not one specific system. If there was, they could work on that and bring the maintenance requirements down. But it seems to be all over the aircraft.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 06:34 AM
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Yet people still don't understand why we need new planes.
The old ones can fly forever I guess but the maintainence required to do so is rediculous.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 07:17 AM
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a reply to: Bluntone22

What makes it so bad is that the B-1 has been a pig from the start. They compromised on the requirements and whittled away at them, and got a bomber that couldn't do what they wanted, and was the most maintenance intensive platform since almost WWII.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 08:59 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Make the B-1R, brand new, modern manufacturing and upgraded with latest tech, order 25 of them, can the old ones, guaranteed to b cheaper over the long run.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 09:47 AM
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a reply to: BigTrain

I could see this, even as just a glorified frame-off rebuild of the existing ones.

Make it the bomber equivalent of those DC-3 upgrades with a new wing and turboprops.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 12:26 PM
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you would think that the DOD or who ever actually OWNS the airframes would be leaning on the manufacturer
to engineer out at least some of the "issues" especially if some of them involve parts of the aircraft cracking
or working lose in service! i get it its an old-ish combat aircraft not a pick up truck but still if these problems
are putting the crews at additional risk or compromising mission availability due to effectively going tech
after virtually every flight this cannot be acceptable surely!



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 12:51 PM
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a reply to: ShayneJUK

The panels don't often crack, or go missing, but it's a required check after flight. The far more prevalent problem is the minor maintenance issues. All B-1s are officially PMC, meaning they're available, but have minor issues. It's pretty common to fly an aircraft that way. A lot of times it's like the third backup radio, or second INS unit when they're running GPS, or something minor that isn't going to affect the mission.

The B-1 was originally a pretty robust design, but it didn't meet the requirements that the Air Force wanted, so they started making changes. They had to lighten it, so it could reach the top speed they wanted. So they started with the ejection capsule, and went to seats for each crew member. Then they really screwed the aircraft, and removed the fourth generator system. That saved them several hundred pounds, and got them to where they could at least get close to the speed required in the RFP, but it screwed them on electrical power. They have to choose between systems when climbing out after takeoff, and on other phases of the mission. More than once, this has led to damage to the engines, requiring them to land somewhere to change the engine, or the fan blades.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 01:12 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Repower every bird with F-119 engines.



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 01:22 PM
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a reply to: BigTrain

Which gets into other problems. The F101-GE-102 that they use now produces 30,782 pounds of thrust. The structure around the engine is stressed to support that amount of thrust. The F119 on the other hand is built by a different company, so may require changing the plumbing around the engine, and produces an additional 5,000 pounds of thrust above what they currently produce. That's going to put a lot of strain on the airframe. It's one of the reasons that putting new engines on the B-52 is proving to be so problematical.

It can be done, and might even prove to be beneficial, but it would cost as much as, or more than the current upgrade program, and take as long.
edit on 2/27/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 09:10 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So? Will the AF continue to throw good money after bad considering the fact that "unmanned" is the new Bees knees these days?



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 09:27 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I wonder if the USAF's decision to push through those major depot rebuilds on the bones is because the flight data from the B-1R was disappointing...



posted on Feb, 27 2017 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

What, in your opinion, would be the best solution for replacing this pig? We need that workhorse, don't we? In contrast, what do you think the DoD will actually end up doing?



posted on Feb, 28 2017 @ 12:46 AM
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a reply to: SonofaSkunk

Unmanned is still seriously limited. It only works well with strike in permissive environments still.



posted on Feb, 28 2017 @ 12:47 AM
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a reply to: TheBadCabbie

Get the B-21 back on track, and push it through as fast as possible, then move to a B-1 replacement program.







 
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