posted on Aug, 26 2013 @ 11:20 AM
Good news for the Air Force, bad news for the Navy. The budget for FY14 will include money to upgrade the F-15E radar system to the APG-82(v)1 with
APG-79 processors, with an IOC of 2014, and all aircraft done by 2021. They are also working on pushing the fatigue test certifications to 18,000
equivalent flight hours for the F-15C/D and 32,000 hours for the E. The original fatigue life was 8,000 hours with the oldest aircraft in the fleet
having flown 10,000 actual hours to date.
At the same time, the Navy aircraft maintenance program has been slashed to almost nothing. Procurement of new aircraft will continue at the same
pace ($17.6B FY12, $17.1B FY13, and $17.9B FY14), while maintenance is being slashed from $1.16B in FY13, to $916M in FY14. That will produce a
backlog of 206 aircraft requiring depot level maintenance for FY14. Engine maintenance will go from a backlog of 273 in FY13, to 532 in FY14.
According to Navy sources a one year backlog is about the max that can be sustained without more tooling, equipment or space. A backlog of 100
airframes, and 340 engines is generally considered the maximum sustainable, but depending on aircraft and engine types that can go up or down.
The U.S. Air Force will have spent about $5.8 billion on F-15 programs between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2017, with F-15E Strike Eagles accounting
for about $3.2 billion of that total, according to an Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) analysis of data provided by Avascent050, an online
market analysis toolkit for global defense programs.
Most of the work — about $3 billion — is for sustainment and modification of the Strike Eagles, the analysis shows. (See charts pp. 7-9.)
As the U.S. Air Force continues to work through cockpit breathing problems for its F-22 Raptor pilots, the service is pushing to more than double the
life of its stalwart F-15 Eagles with a series of upgrades.
The U.S. Air Force wanted fatigue tests on C models starting about two and a half years ago, Boeing officials say.
As the F-15 fleet aircraft approached their life expectancies for total flight hours, Boeing says, the Air Force wanted see how far the service could
delay fleet retirements.
While proposed U.S. Navy aircraft procurement funding is set to hold steady in fiscal 2014, the service’s aircraft depot maintenance accounts
are slated to take a nosedive and maintenance backlogs will balloon.
Navy spending for aircraft procurement has remained relatively flat—$17.6 billion in fiscal 2012, $17.1 billion in fiscal 2013 and $17.9 billion
proposed for fiscal 2014—according to the service’s proposed fiscal 2014 spending proposal.
Meanwhile, aircraft depot maintenance, which dropped from about $1.17 billion in fiscal 2012 to about $1.16 billion in fiscal 2013, is proposed for
another dip to about $916 million for fiscal 2014.
The decrease carries with it some alarming trends.
First, the percent funded of the total requirement is similarly dropping—from 100% in fiscal 2012 to 94% in fiscal 2013 to 79% in the proposed
fiscal 2014 spending plan.
That all correlates to a growing backlog of work that needs to be done.