posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 10:35 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58
Because they are not actually expensive at all compared to developing what you want - consider the maintenance of a B-2 vs a B-52, and the development
costs of a B-2.
It is no longer practical or desirable to have manned strategic bombers over the target when missiles can "do it all" - so why not have "just" a
Tankers can also have their lives extended for much less cost than new - eg witness the cost of the new tankers for the USAF vs a
$1.1 billion "heavy" maintenance budget for KC-135 fleet
for 10 years
- that's only $110 million per year - or less than 1/2 the cost of 1 x KC-46 per-annum!
and in addition:
Since the initial KC-135 PDM contract award in October 1998, Boeing’s team has completed scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on more than 160
aircraft. Along the way, they have reduced the number of days the aircraft are out of service for maintenance by 19%, and cut costs by 15% per
the air force HAS retired (or is retiring) it's oldest KC-135's - but it has a sizeable fleet that has plenty of service life left on the airframe
and which is cheaper to maintain than buying new a/c.
No doubt the 135 fleet will all be retired in due course - but there is no need to waste money doing so before necessary!