Archive for 11, August 2010

Quick Take: TANSTAAFL and the Air Force.

Posted in guns, politcs, rankers, tech pron, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11, August 2010 by chockblock

From WikiPedia, TANSTAAFL: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (alternatively, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” or other variants) is a popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing.

It seems that our political and military leadership is now trying to confront the fighter gap. The F-15 & F-16 are nearing the end of there useful lives. Metal fatigue will claim the A, B and early C models, there is no room for improvements in the models flying now (and a high optempo will push the metal fatigue issue further).

The DEW Line gives us a GAO report:

The GAO report summarizes two mandatory reports the USAF delivered in March to Congress. There are four options:

1. Extending the service life of and modernizing about 300 F-16 aircraft
2. Increasing annual F-35 procurement above 80 aircraft per year
3. Procuring new upgraded variants of legacy aircraft such as the F-16 and F-15
4. A combination of options 2 and 3

the GAO notes that the service life extension program for the F-16 only restores the aircraft’s original threshold of 8,000 hours, rather than truly extending its lifetime.
[emphasis mine]

Old aircraft must be replaced. It’s not a matter of fat contracts or perpetual war or other non-sense. Metal corrodes, develops fatigue cracks and fails under stress. Every year an aircraft crashes due to age. You can tear them down and rebuild them, but there is no free lunch.

New versions of old models are possible, but here’s the rub: new missiles and aircraft are out there. Now, for sale to people who hate us. So they will have to be escorted by the F-22 and F-35. Stand off weapons? Sorry ELP, air defense crews train in shooting them down.

Sadly, re-treads of the F-15/F-16 may get the bucks, due to the jobs they provide to the districts of many in Congress.

Our current aircraft need to be replaced. This includes tankers, cargo and bomber, many took their first flights during the Kennedy era.

Either Congress tackles his issue or pilots die.

P.S. US Aerospace Inc, BITE ME.