Is the Air Force "going out of business"?

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posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 10:33 PM
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Thanks to the Budget Control Act, passed by Congress, the US Air Force is slowly in the process of "going out of business". The Air Force is facing $4.8B of the $5.2B in cuts facing the military. This means that 227 aircraft are being retired, whether they need it or not. Mostly A-10s, C-5s, C-130s, and F-16s.

In the FY13 budget, there is a planned 54 airframe purchase. These are almost entirely MQ-9s, and include upgrades for the E-8 Joint STARS. But what that really translates to is that it would take the Air Force 100 years to replace its entire fleet of aircraft.

The Air Force is still one of the most capable in the world, but at this rate not for much longer. The fighter fleet is over 25 years old (on average), the B-52 will be around until after 2040 (with a 1952 design), the KC-135 was last delivered in the 1960s (and will be around for many more years), etc. All this before you add in design limits due to problems (the F-15 is G-limited, the F-16 fleet has roughly 25% of the entire fleet with airframe and wing cracks).

The airlift fleet can barely move enough cargo for the missions required, and now they're losing a number of C-5s and C-130s required for those missions. And there are no more (or very few more) C-17s coming. There will be some replacement of the C-130 with the J model buys that are ongoing, but not on a 1-1 basis. And to make it better, they are selling off KC-135s to Israel. There are already nowhere near enough of them for the fighter escort missions required, and they've been selling them off to other countries (no, not a lot of them but when you don't have enough, it doesn't matter how many you sell).

Links:

Defense AOL
KC-135 to Israel
Earlier thread with good information

The Air Force has just extended the life expectancy of the F-15 to 18,000 hours, which is more than three times what it was originally. Instead of replacing aircraft, we're getting Service Life Enhancement Programs (SLEP), which just means that the already old aircraft will be flown for years longer. Some of the SLEP programs, such as the A-10C are actually an almost total rebuild (new center wing box, new wing, major cockpit upgrades). Some just mean that the planes will be more likely to fall apart during ACM or actual combat missions.




posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 01:37 AM
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Gadfry!
Well the problems will not go away quickly, and the airforce is getting lesser billing now with the Space Command eating up funds......
Too many hogs at the same trough id say........
Whats the difference between a load of GBUs from a B52 or a couple of>" Rods from the Gods?"
The target still goes boom....
There are backs ups for strategics, however i thought the F35 was the fighter we all are waitiing for.....
The f16s and 18s etc will be greatly reduced when this come on stream anyways wont they?
Isnt the Airforce building a new spy plane? and a bomber?
Are you sure they are gonna go obsolete because of the cuts?
What about the robot space plane that they fly around up there.....whats it doing?
And didnt i just hear theres a new space fighter comming out that can get out and back?



posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 03:13 AM
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yeah new tanker, new bomber, and new UAV's...no way they are going out of business. This is the way I see it...New Years Eve congress will battle until like 2350 and finally come to a compromise on those so called cuts and realize that they will need that money instead of taking it away from defense. Plus, by then we will know which pres we will have in office and what the lame duck session of congress will be doing. If Obama is reelected, then the GOP won't fight as hard with the other side of the isle, and vise versa. Those cuts will never happen in my opinion...



posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 07:20 AM
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There's a new tanker (2015 range or later for service entry), a new bomber (that won't even see first flight until at LEAST 2018 or later), and new UAVs under development. The problem is that the current fleet is getting old fast, and at the current purchase rate, it will never be replaced. Just because you're developing new aircraft, doesn't mean that you aren't getting obsolete at the same time. And don't forget that Congress has to approve the buys, and they have a history of shorting purchases.

But let's take a look at the new tanker, and the new bomber programs. The KC-46, is the FIRST purchase of new tankers. There are still two more purchases to replace the KC-135. If the KC-X program is any indication, the KC-Y, and KC-Z are going to each take 10+ years just for the bidding process. But even if they don't, they won't even start the next buy for several more years, which means that we're looking at probably another 15 years for the second buy.

The KC-135 average age is currently approaching 50. The current mentality is that "they aren't falling from the sky, they're good enough for another 30 or 40 years." The KC-46 will be bought around 100 aircraft. It won't be a one to one replacement, so we'll retire more than 100 KC-135s, but that leaves a lot more to go. By the time it's retired, it will be approaching the age of the B-52.

The new bomber won't even replace anything. It's going to compliment that current bomber fleet. It's also going to be a medium bomber, as compared to the heavy payloads of the current bombers. The design isn't even going to be finalized for years, which means another 20+ years of development for that one too. All the while, our current bombers are just aging and developing problems as they do.



posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 08:51 AM
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End of the year for the government is end of Sept. not end of December.



posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 08:52 AM
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reply to post by chevy369
 


But the bill that Congress passed takes effect at the end of December, not the end of the Fiscal Year.



posted on Aug, 10 2012 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


The BCA should never have been passed. The thing is, when Obama took office, 4.9% of our GDP was spent on the Military. I would have bumped that up to 5.0%, just to be even. About one fifth of that would have been spending on the Iraq and Afghan wars. If the Military put that money into modernization, at 5% of GDP, that would be about 150,000,000,000 dollars that could be put into modernization and aquisition. That would be enough to totally rebuild and modernize every branch of our military. The point that I am trying to make is that we could modernize our Military without having to signifigantly increase Military spending. Not only would the Air Force's debilitating cuts become unnecessary, but we could afford to totally replace our current Air Force, Navy, and Marine combat aircraft fleets with F-22's, F-35's, F/A-XX's, newer A-10's, FB-22's, and upgrade and increase our current Bomber, AC-130 fleet, and still have some left over to develope new drones and helicopters. All in all, we could increase the number of both fixed-winged and rotary-wing aircraft used by all branches by about 50%, while at the same time signifigantly upgrading the other branches of the Military. It would really help if, after a thorough series of reviews, we could bring back most of the military projects canceled in the past five-six years.
edit on 10-8-2012 by Antonio1 because: (no reason given)
edit on 10-8-2012 by Antonio1 because: (no reason given)
edit on 10-8-2012 by Antonio1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 01:05 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
There's a new tanker (2015 range or later for service entry), a new bomber (that won't even see first flight until at LEAST 2018 or later), and new UAVs under development. The problem is that the current fleet is getting old fast, and at the current purchase rate, it will never be replaced. Just because you're developing new aircraft, doesn't mean that you aren't getting obsolete at the same time. And don't forget that Congress has to approve the buys, and they have a history of shorting purchases.

But let's take a look at the new tanker, and the new bomber programs. The KC-46, is the FIRST purchase of new tankers. There are still two more purchases to replace the KC-135. If the KC-X program is any indication, the KC-Y, and KC-Z are going to each take 10+ years just for the bidding process. But even if they don't, they won't even start the next buy for several more years, which means that we're looking at probably another 15 years for the second buy.

The KC-135 average age is currently approaching 50. The current mentality is that "they aren't falling from the sky, they're good enough for another 30 or 40 years." The KC-46 will be bought around 100 aircraft. It won't be a one to one replacement, so we'll retire more than 100 KC-135s, but that leaves a lot more to go. By the time it's retired, it will be approaching the age of the B-52.

The new bomber won't even replace anything. It's going to compliment that current bomber fleet. It's also going to be a medium bomber, as compared to the heavy payloads of the current bombers. The design isn't even going to be finalized for years, which means another 20+ years of development for that one too. All the while, our current bombers are just aging and developing problems as they do.


First I would say that the second and third buys will be a lot different that the first for the new tanker. Hopefully there won't be any chick looking for a job at Boeing in the way this time and it will be alot smoother. Second would be the new bomber. I think 20 more years of development is way too much. My guess is that they have already flown prototypes of this new bomber either at area 51, plant 42, etc. I can't imagine congress asking for all the stuff they want on the next gen bomber without some companies skunkworks division showing them what they have came up with already.

In my opinion the future of air battles will be from unmanned aircraft (bombers, drones, and even fighters) which can all be air refueled via the new tanker, and even the kc135. I think that the Kc-y tanker will be much more advanced than we think. Being a boom operator for six years, it kind of saddens me that they don't have a boom pod anymore and it's all ran from the front of the aircraft. I've spoken with gariac about this already and I know they can refuel uav's already. Hell even in the early 2000's we were doing stuff with the ucav out at Edwards (I.e. having them come up to the pre contact position and checking the feasibility of doing this). I showed him an email I received from a fellow test flight boom stationed at Edwards and he said they are already refueling uav's for the navy right now. That's quite a feat if you ask me. I know, no pics no proof but I've shown what ive done flying out of Edwards so this guy had no reason to lie to me.

All in all, I think unmanned aircraft are the future and perhaps are already in development stages.



posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 11:15 AM
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Personally, I have to say it's pretty cool that a 1952 design can meet mission needs for 70 years. Though I have to worry considerably about structural integrity after so many hours in service. I fully expect the B-52 to be flying on other planets - it's just such a utilitarian airframe... but the nature of airframes challenges that idea.

The reality, though, is that the AirForce is one of the most logical places to begin making budget cuts. Of all the branches, it has the smallest role in current missions abroad - spare for cargo... which will likely end up being contracted out at this rate. .... An alarming amount of cargo operations are contracted out, currently - including the transport of explosive ordnance. What I've personally seen is not for forum discussion - but it's not something I think should be driven around by foreign nationals (and I doubt I would be in the minority on that opinion).

The Navy is encountering some of the same problems. Ships are literally falling apart around their crews with strained supplies for replacements and fleet replacements nowhere in sight. We've already run into a few ugly byproducts of this trend on this deployment. Supply has been contracting indiscriminately to the lowest bidder. Our new van drivers are walking HazMat (unimaginable body odor) while having to be taught how to do things like turn on their lights, open doors (no #), open the hood, bring the key to start their vehicle, etc. I # you, not. We contracted for professional drivers and got supplied with a bunch of people who, up until they showed up for the job, had never sat in the drivers' seat.

I don't think they'll last too long - they recently started trying to take out concrete walls with our personnel in the vehicle. A few people have started getting pains and aches after those incidents - basically guaranteed 20% or more disability for the rest of their life. Sometimes it doesn't pay to go with the lowest bidder.

Like the infections everyone is going to get from the new porta-johns.... there's no blue water in them. They just sit in the sun and bake with raw human waste in the bottom of them. And no hand sanitizer in sight.

Supply got approved for a danger-close Blue Falcon mission, apparently - and they are gunning for the Blue Falcon of the Deployment Award like it's a Call of Duty achievement.

After everyone gets injured, infected, or otherwise qualified for disability from this nonsense, they'll probably just contract our flight out of here to Iran and ensure our families get the mere $400K SGLI benefits rather than having to pay us disability for the 60+ years some of us have left. What happens when military supply gets tasked with looking out for the bottom line.



posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 11:28 AM
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It looks like the Space Command blue triangle reverse engineered alien tech ships are more important right now.
Once they have enough light sabers (with medievel sword training) completed with transhuman super soldiers, they might ante up for a few Hammer Head strategic fighters. Oh the list goes on.





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