Thursday, January 17, 2008

Our Tired Air Force

The following disturbing report from the Air Force Association was provided by our colleague, Ted Feindt, Navigator, 1st ATS, '61-'65:

January 16, 2008

AFA members and Congressional Staffers, many of you have commented favorably on the "elevator speech numbers" I sent you.

It's January ... so here are some revealing data on the "State of the Air Force."

Fighter Aircraft - average age: 20 years; average flight hours 5400+

Bomber Aircraft - average age: 32 years; average flight hours 11,400+

Tanker aircraft - average age: 44 years; average flight hours 18,900+

C2 Fleet - average age: 22 years old; average flight hours 32,000

ISR Fleet (excluding UAV) - average age: 30 years old; average flight hours 18,000

Key Groundings/Restrictions

F-15A-D - 163 of 441 are grounded for structural issues

B-52 - 6 are grounded - past due PDM grounding date - authorized a one-time flight to the bone-yard.

EC-130 - 2 of 14 are grounded due to center wing box cracks

C-130E - 3 are grounded and 13 are restricted due to Service life and wing cracks

KC-135Es - 26 of 86 are grounded due to engine strut corrosion.

AC-130U - 4 of 17 are restricted due to lack of 30MM weapons

B-2 - entire fleet is restricted due to windshield bolt hole cracks

C-5s - 39 of 108 are restricted due to crown skin restrictions (weight limiting)


219 of 223 F-15Es have training restrictions due to vertical stab structural issues

Majority of Block 25/30/32, block 40/42, and block 50/52 F-16s need structural modifications

All 356 A-10s will need new wings and new aircraft skin - many have landing gear issues ... and all need new engines.

C-130Hs have Center Wing Box issues

C-32As have bulkhead structural issues.

Looking across the FYDP - between 2008-2013 - the Air Force will divest itself of 749 aircraft and procure only 698 aircraft (260 of which are UAVs).

To give you the idea of the scale of all of this:

  • When the AF grounded its 600+ F-15 fleet, it grounded more aircraft than the entire F/A Navy. The F-15s it presently has grounded equate to a bit more than 3 aircraft carriers of aircraft.
  • The 356 A-10s that need renovations equates to more aircraft than the fixed wing USMC
  • The Air Force has about 5800 aircraft ... and presently about one-third are either grounded or restricted in one way or another

The central important part of this data is that this is not a third-world Air Force ... And the question we should ask ourselves, why don't we fund it to ensure our children and grandchildren are safe and secure?

2nd Subject -

Chief of Staff White Paper - Gen Moseley published an exceptional White Paper ... which lays out the strategic foundations for the Air Force of the future. If you haven't seen it, you can find it on the AFA website:

My favorite quotes in it are:

  • "No modern war has been won without air superiority. No future war will be won without air, space and cyberspace superiority." Page 2.
  • "With the oldest inventory in history, battered by 17 years of continuous combat, the Air Force's ability to fulfill its missions is already being tested." Page 2
  • "... our reliance on assured access to space will increase exponentially." Page 8
  • "The Air Force is smaller in December 2007 than it was in December 1941." Page 10

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn, Lt Gen (Ret)
AFA President/CEO

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