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House votes to Halt retirement of F-117, B-52 and U-2

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posted on May, 20 2006 @ 04:46 AM
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The House has voted to halt retirement of dozens of aircraft, which would have saved $2.6 billion by 2011.

The Air force wanted to accelerate retirment of the F-117, to have them all retired by 2011. Now, only 10 F-117's can retire in 2007, and all retired F-117's must be preserved for possible future operations.

The DoD has to certify to Congress that the manned U-2 spy plane is no longer needed for intelligence-gathering and surveillance missions, before any can be retired. Retireing the U-2 could save $1 billion over the next four years.

Also, no B-52's can retire until a relacement is available. The Pentagon earlier this year revealed its intent to reduce the fleet from 94 to 56 whici would have saved $680 million through 2011.


Full Article

I think preserving the F-117's isn't such a bad idea, but overall they should take some risk in retiring some U-2's and B-52's, you can't keep them in service forever.




posted on May, 20 2006 @ 05:38 AM
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Didn't zap say that USAF is looking for replacements for the B-52 in 2018...??



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 06:38 AM
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The F117 is nearing the end of its usefullness. Its an old design and it only has its stealth.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 11:24 AM
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Originally posted by tomcat ha
The F117 is nearing the end of its usefullness. Its an old design and it only has its stealth.


if its as stealthy as they say then thats all it needs. however i do agree that it is time the f-117 goes.

the U-2 should only be retired when the global hawk can fulfil its role.

the way i understand it the B-52 is still used for close air support when something more substantial than an a-10, f-15 or an f-16 is needed.

Justin



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 01:15 PM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Didn't zap say that USAF is looking for replacements for the B-52 in 2018...??


I think current engineering analyses show the B-52's life span could go beyond the year 2040.

Why scrap a good workhourse when it still has life in it? Makes no sense.

B52s are to bombers as were C47 to transports they have a very long expected life and spare parts galore in AZ should they be needed.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 03:03 PM
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Theoretically, the B-52 will be in service until 2052, making it 98 when it retires. HOWEVER, and this is the big catch, airframe flight hours are going to hurt them in a big way. At some point during the life, major sections of airframe are going to have to be replced or rebuilt to keep the plane flying. IIRC the upper wing is going to reach the end of its service life on the B-52 first, and that's gonna be a big one. The only way to extend the life is to completely replace the wings.

IIRC the upper wings, the tail, the lower wings, and the parts of the fuselage are the order it's going to fail in.

www.globalsecurity.org...

That's a good page to see about the service life of the B-52.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 06:37 PM
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I think the retirement of the F-117 is long overdue. The F-117 is an old design and is not very practical for today's combat. Its completely unsuited to AA combat (depsite the F- designation :puz
, Has a small bomb bay, is dreadfully slow, and while they say its quiet, in my experience with flybys and such they sound more like armies of dustbusters poised to take the Earth by force.

The U-2 is also an obsolete design. It was succeeded by the SR-71 which was retired even faster. Now the Americans have spy satellites and such, spy aircraft have become somewhat less useful. If they could make the SR-71 into a bombing platform it might be different, but to hit top speeds its gotta be way up in the atmosphere, bad for aiming bombs. Unless its like a nuke when you just need to point it in the general direction (I'm gonna take flak for this comment I know it).

The B-52 ain't obsolete yet. Therefore it should not be retired. The B-2 Spirit is nice and all, but I don't think it has fully succeeded the B-52 quite yet. I am starting to suspect that an Airbus A380 might make a good chassis for a bigass bomber.

Those are my 1 1/2 cents. I'm still not worth 2.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 06:58 PM
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The F-117, when flying at mission altitude, is actually almost completely silent, unless conditions are just right.

The SR was actually designed to COMPLIMENT the U-2, not to replace it. The U-2 would be used to look over the border, and in lower threat areas, and the SR to do actual overflights.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
Theoretically, the B-52 will be in service until 2052, making it 98 when it retires. HOWEVER, and this is the big catch, airframe flight hours are going to hurt them in a big way. At some point during the life, major sections of airframe are going to have to be replced or rebuilt to keep the plane flying. IIRC the upper wing is going to reach the end of its service life on the B-52 first, and that's gonna be a big one. The only way to extend the life is to completely replace the wings.

IIRC the upper wings, the tail, the lower wings, and the parts of the fuselage are the order it's going to fail in.


They have already taken some of those parts from Davis Montham *sp) and used them on several aircraft. In addtion Boeing has in fact made new ones when they added cruise missile capabilities to the aircraft. I really do ot see that as being a big problem, but I could be wrong.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 07:09 PM
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They didn't replace them when they modified them for cruise missile ops, they just strengthened them. When they do a mod like that they go the cheapest route, and that's by adding stiffeners to the wings to make them stronger. Ultimately this is what's going to kill the BUFF fleet, because even with taking wings from the bone yard, you're going to be looking at a huge chunk of change to replace all those parts on 90+ B-52s, for what is ultimately a second line aircraft now.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 07:30 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
They didn't replace them when they modified them for cruise missile ops, they just strengthened them. When they do a mod like that they go the cheapest route, and that's by adding stiffeners to the wings to make them stronger. Ultimately this is what's going to kill the BUFF fleet, because even with taking wings from the bone yard, you're going to be looking at a huge chunk of change to replace all those parts on 90+ B-52s, for what is ultimately a second line aircraft now.


Granted they may not have replaced the whole wing but you can be rest assured they re-certified each and every section they reused when the parts were assembled. Nothing and I mean nothing leaves DM or Boeing without being re-certified at least according to the History Channel and I doubt they would lie about that.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 07:42 PM
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Yeah, but recertification only means that it's not failing, and it's not going to fall apart the first time they fly it. None of the wings are at the fail point yet, so they all were recertified. All that means is that they don't have cracks or corrosion in them, and haven't reached their failure point. And that after the modification was done, they put them back together properly.

Once they reach the failure point, then the planes HAVE to either be retired, or the component needs to be replaced. Probably once they're under 100 hours to the fail point they'll make a decision on it.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 08:23 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
Yeah, but recertification only means that it's not failing, and it's not going to fall apart the first time they fly it.


No not really. As I understood from recent History channel segments, they claim when they leave the are considered to be in brand new condition, at least that was my take on what they said.

If I can find the program I am talking about I will be more then happy to post its new schedule and you can then make you assessment of what they said.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 08:49 PM
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It is like new, because they replace anything that has damage or corrosion on it while they're in there. But the portions that they are talking about failing are the portions that they can't replace without replacing the entire segment. You can make it like new, but you can't reset the clock without a total replacement. Some of the failure points will be in the fuselage where the wing attaches to the main body, etc.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 09:16 PM
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Personally I think that the F-117 is nearing retirement, however there is a better option. Considering that several of our great allies (the UK in particular) don't have a stealth platform at the moment we could sell a few. Considering that the UK currently doesn't have anything stealthier in service, a few F-117's could be very helpful. Not to mention British aerospace engineers could benefit from having a stealth platform to tinker with and learn from. Alternativly I can imagine that F-117's could probably be outfitted for survelience duty, thus replacing the U-2 as a spyplane for use over combat zones.

The U-2 spyplane on the other hand definatly needs to retire from being flown over areas with significant anti-aircraft defenses. However they could be immensely useful in maintaining security along the border considering most immigrants aren't exactly hostile, and I'm pretty sure most of them aren't armed with Stinger missiles.

As for B-52, I'll admit I'm a bit of a fan of the aircraft, but even I'll admit that it's a little dangerous to push such an old aircraft into the 2040's. Now although I'm confident that it can last that long, pushing an aircraft to near 100 years of age is a little absurd. I agree with the AF that it needs to be retired, but I think that it needs a replacement first. And I mean a real bombtruck of a bird, something capable of carrying massive amounts of ordinance into the battlefield and striking fear into the hearts of America's enemies.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 11:47 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
Once they reach the failure point, then the planes HAVE to either be retired, or the component needs to be replaced. Probably once they're under 100 hours to the fail point they'll make a decision on it.


Fan as I am of the Buffs, I'm afraid this is very true. There is also another comment saying that these entire sections will have to be nearly rebuilt from the inside out just cause they're made into the wing and fuselage. I have seen such things on a Lancaster that my uncle is trying to restore. Its just so intergrated into the body you gotta take almost every other main part to replace it. It ain't gonna be easy, and I suspect it might be easier to just manufacture some more. Better idea: Overhaul the entire internal set of the plane, give it better electronics and such. Maybe give the bomb bay a lil more space, give better engines.

Wishful thinking, but its been done before.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 12:03 AM
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There actually WAS a plan for the B-52SOJ (Stand Off Jammer) that would give it four 757 engines, more jammers, better electronics, SEAD munitions, and basically remove the bombs. They would have the bomb bay, and they would have the same capacity for bombs that they do now, so they could use them as bombers if they had to, but their primary mission would be to escort the strike package, and stand off out of range of the defenses with MC-130s and jam the AAA sites as the strike package went in. But it got cancelled in this same round of cuts that the House is fighting now.



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 06:46 AM
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The F-117 is long overdew for retirement. It is far outdated by military standards. The ones that are flying are the A models, the origional version. The A/C also require vast amounts of LO maintance between flights. I don't understand why they are so eager to hold onto them.

The B-52 and U-2 on the otherr hand are valuable assete that we need. Why should they be in a hurry to retire them!

Tim



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 02:01 PM
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because they are getting old.



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