America’s aging aviation force: Father, son flew same fighter jet 30 years apart

posted at 10:40 am on May 18, 2012 by Rob Bluey

Dave Deptula, a retired three-star general, knows the risks associated with flying older aircraft. While serving as the joint task force commander in 1998 and 1999 for Operation Northern Watch, Deptula flew 82 combat missions over Iraq. On one mission, as he was headed to a tanker to refuel, the master caution light came on, revealing a problem with the plane. His fuel gauge went to zero. Meanwhile, he was 500 miles away from his base. Fortunately, he was able to land safely.

“The insulation was so old it simply had deteriorated to the extent where it came off and all of the wiring shorted out,” Deptula recalled. “Those are the kinds of things that happen when airplanes get to certain ages.”

Deptula’s aircraft was grounded for repairs, requiring another set of planes to travel from Kadena Air Force Base in Japan, on other side of the world. It’s not an isolated incident. In the years that followed, the Air Force was forced to ground its entire F-15 fleet in 2007 after one fighter disintegrated during a training mission in Missouri.

These frightening experiences demonstrate the consequences of an aging aviation force. Deptula worries that fiscal constraints imposed on the military — including more than $492 billion of mandatory defense cuts on the horizon — will result in future challenges.

“I hear people talk about, well you know, the U.S. military spends more money than the next 17 nations combined,” Deptula said. “Well, the next 17 nations combined are not committed to maintaining peace and stability around the world. We are.”

The Heritage Foundation featured Deptula’s story as a part of a three-part series highlighting the risks of budget cuts to the nation’s military. The first part told the story of Col. Kerry Kachejian, an Army Reserve engineer, who relied on sport-utility vehicles during his service in Iraq.

Deptula uses the term “geriatric aviation force” to describe the current state of affairs. He has firsthand experience. He earned his wings and flew an F-15 for the first time in 1977. Thirty years later, another Deptula boarded the aircraft. His son, Lt. David A. Deptula II, flew the same F-15 at Kadena Air Force Base in Japan.

The Wall Street Journal documented the amazing father-son story last fall to illustrate the challenges facing the aging force. The elder Deptula recounted how the fighter was originally designed for a 4,000-hour service life. That was later extended to 8,000 hours.

“We have really flown these aircraft well beyond what originally would be believed as their replacement lifetime,” Deptula said of the F-15s. “And now, because of some of the fiscal constraints that are being imposed on the Department of Defense, there is consideration being given to extending the lifetime even further.”

Before retiring from the Air Force in 2010 as a lieutenant general, Deptula traveled to Kadena for a high-aspect mission with his son. He flew the F-15 and saw some of its deficiencies compared to newer aircraft like the F-22 and F-35.

Heritage’s James Jay Carafano, an expert on defense and national security issues, worries that under the Obama administration, the military will continue to suffer from ill-advised budgeting.

“Today’s air forces are the oldest in the history of U.S. air forces,” Carafano explained. “Replacing old airframes and ensuring the U.S. maintains its superiority over potential adversaries is a national security priority. Yet Obama has done little to show he takes the challenge of modernizing the air fleets seriously.”

The result is troubling: The U.S. military is jeopardy of sacrificing dominance in the air environment that came with advancements in the 1960s and 1970s. Simply modernizing and updating aircraft won’t provide the same edge against adversaries.

With more budget cuts looming, however, will Congress do anything to reverse course?

Rob Bluey directs the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism operation at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertBluey


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One thing that frustrated me no end was some dip-dork in Washington telling me that I needed an entire spare main feed pump when what I needed was a bale of rags and a socket set.

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM

At least you could replace your MFPs. Ours required a hull cut. BTW, just want you to know that on the 629, the nukes didn’t have a place in engineering to keep the RPMs, so they re-appropriated a bulkhead in the missile compartment for their lockers. We lost our gazillion dollar missile guidance handling equipment rack and had to store the gear in bench lockers. Needless to say, the books that never got read were more important than the slightly costly nuclear weapon handling stuff.

So there.

BobMbx on May 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Yes, it can be difficult to find things that “you just know you read” later on because it often leaves an impression that you remember — but the way you remember it is NOT the way it’s phrased. Thus making is very difficult to find later unless you are in the Scriptures all the time, which I’m not.

Yet I might find it later, but that will be too late to show DarkCurrent that I’m not just hallucinating.

Axion on May 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Needless to say, the books that never got read were more important than the slightly costly nuclear weapon handling stuff.

Oh there you go again, “I have nuclear weapons la-te-DAH How up town. I think I’ll go play the granhhhd piano mater.” Did you ever you those nuclear guidance systems? No, thought not…did you use the power, heat and light from the engineering plant? I think the answer is yes. Who deserved the primo storage space, again?

JFKY on May 18, 2012 at 4:14 PM

JFKY on May 18, 2012 at 4:14 PM

I hear squeaking from the back of the bus……

BobMbx on May 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

At least you could replace your MFPs. Ours required a hull cut. BTW, just want you to know that on the 629, the nukes didn’t have a place in engineering to keep the RPMs, so they re-appropriated a bulkhead in the missile compartment for their lockers. We lost our gazillion dollar missile guidance handling equipment rack and had to store the gear in bench lockers. Needless to say, the books that never got read were more important than the slightly costly nuclear weapon handling stuff.

So there.

BobMbx on May 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Replacing a MFP required a hull cut for us too Bob. Either that or cut a hole through 4 decks and drop it vertically. It was on LL fwd in the engine room. Two feet out of the bilges. When you lost the lockers did your lower lip pooch out? Forward pukes whine a lot sort of like topside pukes. I think you were just jealous that we got more VRB than you guys…even if almost none of us took advantage of it :-) Another thing you guys always seemed to forget. The old man was a Nuke too so the deck was stacked against you from the start :-)

I think I may know a couple of guys who were on the DB. I’ll have to ask next time a bunch of us get together, what time frame were you aboard her?

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 4:58 PM

JFKY on May 18, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Are you a Nuke?

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

OBVIOUSLY you have no respect for your betters! The Dash-10 calls for a new pump and a new pump it shall be! UNLESS, of course, we have no such pumps in inventory, and none is likely to be found, and we need the system up in a few hours, then of course, bring forth the rags and socket set.

JFKY on May 18, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Heh, yep, we kept the SOB in the top hat area above the forward reactor compartment…right next to the spare RCP. Oddly enough we actually did change out an RCP sitting in Subic Bay. Way easier than doing a feed pump. All the holes were right there, no cutting required. We had a RCP sieze up while making a run from Australia to Yankee Station. We finished the run two loop in the forward plant and still averaged 29.2 knots for the run.

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 5:06 PM

In 2004 the Air Boss on my ship introduced me to one of his helos.

It was one of the choppers that evacuated the embassy in Vietnam.

LOL

HondaV65 on May 18, 2012 at 5:35 PM

There are 50-year-old BUFFs being flown by the grandkids of their original pilots. Imagine fighting the Korean War with Sopwith Camels.

skydaddy on May 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I’m a firm believer that if an airframe is reliable and is at least able to be upgraded through series modifications, it doesn’t always require reinventing the wheel to stay moderninzed and current with our possible enemies. The upgrade to the Mike Model Black Hawk that Badgerhawk and I fly is a good example. A lot was recapitalized to save money. But it’s still an awesome upgrade from the Lima. The problem is when the money crunchers start looking for five and dime ways to save more money. For the Mike, it looks like it’s going to be a slower implemetation schedule and slower capabilities certifications. This aircraft is entirely capable of being flown coupled to it’s flight director under IFR (in IMC) with GPS (FMS) but we’re going to play cheap on certifying the system. It would be cheaper to operate and safer for our pilots if we pursued it.

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

For anyone who is interested, there is a lot of good information on this topic at http://www.f-16.net/ in the various forums.

One thing to keep in mind on the F-35: there is a large propaganda effort on the part of the Russians and French to discourage countries from lining up to buy it (they have there own planes to sell). There is also Air Power Australia, which is trying to promote their business in upgrading F-111′s.

Count to 10 on May 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

There are 50-year-old BUFFs being flown by the grandkids of their original pilots. Imagine fighting the Korean War with Sopwith Camels.

skydaddy on May 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Are we sure that the North Koreans weren’t?

Count to 10 on May 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Money crunchers and bean counters, feather merchants all.

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Money crunchers and bean counters, feather merchants all.

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

I try to not believe the worst in people. They could think, they’ve dealt with these limitations before, what’s a few more years. They might think, well, the aircraft are contracted but it’s just a longer schedule for delivery to a few units. But folks still end up deploying with an older model and folks like me are kept on the payroll longer to do the transitions. I guess if it looks good on paper, they go with it.

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM

The military always whines very loudly about how defenseless we will be if any of their sacred cows are cut. F them, we a broke. Cut spending everywhere, layoff several million federal slackers, uh bloodsuckers, mmmm… hacks, errr… employees. CUT, CUT, CUT! STOP SPENDING!

woodNfish on May 18, 2012 at 6:45 PM

woodNfish on May 18, 2012 at 6:45 PM

No, sorry, FU.

Obviously we “could” spent a little more on education.

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 7:22 PM

No, sorry, FU.

Obviously we “could” spent a little more on education.

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Ok Hawk, I’m chuckling a little now. You just said this.

I try to not believe the worst in people.

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Then this comes along :-)

woodNfish on May 18, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Another thing you guys always seemed to forget. The old man was a Nuke too so the deck was stacked against you from the start :-)

I think I may know a couple of guys who were on the DB. I’ll have to ask next time a bunch of us get together, what time frame were you aboard her?

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 4:58 PM

I got lucky. My last CO was a weaponeer. Hard to believe, I know. Photographic memory with total recall. The man was downright scary. But he kept to his roots, and always kept the MTs stocked with Oreos. Sort of a bribe. And drilled the boondockers off the nukes. Hehehe…nothing quite like laying in your rack and listening to the nukes suck rubber.

I was on the DB from ’80 to ’85. Took her into ROH in NNews in ’85.

JFKY sounds sorta nuke-like. Seemed to know exactly what we were talking about.

BobMbx on May 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I supplied your daily dose of irony? Guilty.

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

As the PRC starts flexing its military muscle we should be reminded that the interest paid by the US federal government to the PRC exceeds the PRC’s military budget. The Politburo must be exceedingly grateful to the US for funding its military expansion and upgrades.

in_awe on May 18, 2012 at 8:55 PM

As the PRC starts flexing its military muscle we should be reminded that the interest paid by the US federal government to the PRC exceeds the PRC’s military budget. The Politburo must be exceedingly grateful to the US for funding its military expansion and upgrades.

in_awe on May 18, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Also keeping in mind that the one way that they can loose that investment is if they enter hostilities against the US.

Count to 10 on May 18, 2012 at 9:02 PM

BobMbx on May 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

May have been weapons oriented but he was a Nuke. CO’s of nuke ships had to be qualified nukes. The future captain of the Long Beach went through A1W at the same time I did. He crawled through a SSTG oil sump right beside me. I’ll ask around and see if anybody I know was on there around that time. I knew people on just about every old nuke boat/ship that hit the water. I even knew people on the Guitarro, we were in dry dock when she made her first dive :-) I sort of got the feeling that JFKY was a nuke or at least ex-Nav. Maybe he’ll drop back by and give us his stats.

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 9:25 PM

I supplied your daily dose of irony? Guilty.

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Yep, it was a little karmic and pretty funny.

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 9:28 PM

What happened to cut the spending? Yea…cut for ye not for thee

Uppereastside on May 18, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Took her into ROH in NNews in ’85.

BobMbx on May 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Hey, just hit me. One of my best buds was doing nuke overhauls in NNews in 85. Ex-navy nuke went through RO license class with me, got his license quit and started working at the shipyard. I think he’s still there unless he retired recently. Bishop would love him. Harley rider.

Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Seems they have more than enough money to maintain NORTHCOM and fly drones over here to keep an eye on Americans.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 18, 2012 at 10:05 PM

For the record, I used to work on platform survivability components for the F-22, and now work on platform survivability components for the F-35. The specs for the F-35 components are much tighter than similar components for the F-22. Frankly, I’m amazed we can meet them. That’s about all I’m allowed to say…

Moose Drool on May 18, 2012 at 10:08 PM

One aspect of the F-35B that many overlook is the fact that when placing them on an LHD/LHA you now have transformed an amphibious assault ship into a strike carrier. This is done by simply replacing the type of aircraft flown off its deck. The harrier has the same vertical lift component, but the similarities stop there. The Harriers mission sets are limited to CAS and Armed Recce.

Look at this way. The Chinese currently monitor where all of our (11?) CV’s are at any given time. Do they apply that same concern to LHD/LHAs under the current MEU construct? Probably not. While a quite capable quick reactive force, the current MEU construct does not pose a force projection threat. Now put 20 or so F-35B’s on its decks. The Chinese will certainly want to know where those ships are at any given time. The reason is simple, just like a CV, the power projection is so great that it poses an offensive threat. All done without building a new ship, but by simply substituting the type of aircraft flown off its decks.

Meat Fighter on May 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM

I’m an army helicopter pilot and I fly aircraft that are 45 years old. They were made before I was.

CVMA-Dredd on May 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM

What happened to cut the spending? Yea…cut for ye not for thee

Uppereastside on May 18, 2012 at 9:29 PM

We’re already being cut in the military. Where have entitlements been cut. Right, they haven’t.

hawkdriver on May 19, 2012 at 12:54 AM

These frightening experiences demonstrate the consequences of an aging aviation force. Deptula worries that fiscal constraints imposed on the military — including more than $492 billion of mandatory defense cuts on the horizon — will result in future challenges.

*sigh* Even Hot Air can’t keep from doing it. Repeat after me: There are no cuts. None. Zero. A reduction in the projected rate of growth is not a cut. A cut is spending less this year than you did last year. Which a government agency last did… never. Stop buying into the liberal baseline budgeting myth and report the truth.

“I hear people talk about, well you know, the U.S. military spends more money than the next 17 nations combined,” Deptula said. “Well, the next 17 nations combined are not committed to maintaining peace and stability around the world. We are.”

Fair enough. So let’s stop doing that. Problem solved.

Shump on May 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

You’re actually quite wrong. The Air Force is quite literally cutting airplanes and cutting personnel. There’s no way to claim that this is “not really a cut.” If a unit has 10 less planes it’s flying, it’s a real cut. If a unit loses 60 enlisted members who were not allowed to reenlist, it’s a real cut.

Everyone thought it was going to just be a gimmick, and that Congress would come back and reauthorize the military to prevent military cuts, but that didn’t happen. The cuts are real. Maybe you’re fine with that, but don’t pretend it’s not happening.

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 19, 2012 at 1:06 AM

…There is also Air Power Australia, which is trying to promote their business in upgrading F-111′s.

Count to 10 on May 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

All F-111′s are gone, including the Australian ones. And it would prove difficult to bring those back into service, as they’re currently stripped, broken up and buried (however, I fully expect there is something of a Superhornet mafia lurking about the Australian political scene, and from a cost vs. capability perspective they aren’t entirely without a case).

While a quite capable quick reactive force, the current MEU construct does not pose a force projection threat. Now put 20 or so F-35B’s on its decks….

Meat Fighter

Probably not quite as straightforward as that. The USMC made clear its lack of interest in pursuing any role for its ship-borne fixed-wing assets as air-to-air operators when it declined to integrate AMRAAM in the AV-8B+ (a relatively simple matter that both the Spanish and Italian navies embraced). No matter the potential capability of the aircraft, that organizational/operational attitude inherently limits the potential of the ship in question as a power projection asset. The AV-8B fleet eschews the full breadth of ship-born capability not because it can’t go there, but because somebody pointedly chose that it was not going to.

Certainly, this is the sort of thing that could change–with effort, training, probably a few logistical nightmares, and the inevitable associated costs. But I wouldn’t look for MEU’s–even with F-35B’s (the A version of which, with its lack of missile capacity and inability to supercruise, is a less-than-inspiring air superiority asset itself, let alone the even less capable B)–emerging as viable airborne power projection assets, autonomous from CVN support, any time in the near future. I expect Marine air leadership remains perfectly happy keeping its fixed-wing assets focused as exclusively as possible on CAS (particularly where V/STOL is concerned), and leaving the USAF and USN to handle the rest.

Blacklake on May 19, 2012 at 1:12 AM

Our military budget has grown faster than inflation for a long time now.

That’s a very poor measure of spending. You would hardly expect the military budget to stay consistent with inflation during a war, and we’ve been through the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have a near-constant threat of terrorism. Why would you even measure the reat of growth of the military budget compared to inflation?

Our military budget is bigger than the rest of the world combined.

Overstated. It’s bigger than a lot of the other nations combined, but we do more than they do. The only real fix for that is to try to get those nations to up their spending and share the burden, but that’s not going to happen.

We have to be consistant conservatives when it comes to the budget and ignoring the massive waste in our defense spending would be hypocritical when we are attacking Dems for demagogueing all the wasteful social spending.

It’s only hypocritical if all you use to measure conservatism is the amount of spending. Reagan was as conservative a President as we’ve had recently, and he spent plenty of money on defense.

Keeping peace is actually a valid function of government. Social spending programs are not. We would be completely consistent and not at all hypocritical if we demanded all entitlement programs be cut in half while doubling defense spending. At least the military budget has been buying us peace and dominance, while the entitlements have bought us nothing.

Realistically we should cut back on our 100+ bases around the world and spend more on our aging aviation force. I would rather of had a capable DOMESTIC air defense on 9-11 that could have responded faster to the hijackings ….than a base in Germany or Japan. Let them spend money on their own defense so we can spend money defending our own country.

ModerateMan on May 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM

There’s always room for improvement. But if you think we’re spending all this money to protect other nations, you’re missing the bottom line. We’re spending the money to protect us, and to try to eliminate threats before they hit us.

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 19, 2012 at 1:31 AM

stealth is NOT the end-all-be-all super-capability that the air force makes it out to be. it only works on a narrow bandwidth. outside that and it doesn’t work. it also doesn’t deal with infrared, visual, sound, ect.

once defeated, it is built into the aircraft and cannot be removed, upgraded, or changed. you’re stuck.

supercruise engines, sensor fusion, BVR radar and missiles, ect are all components that can, and should, be integrated into older airframes. it will help pilot transition, as well as give a depth of quantity behind the wunderweapons of the F-22 and F-35.

warhorse_03826 on May 19, 2012 at 3:44 AM

DoD wastes an enormous amount of money. Not talking about money spent to keep weapons and equipment up to date either. The DoD uses hundreds of billions each year to buy all kinds of overpriced items that they end up just putting in a warehouse and leave to languish.

Cutting the waste could probably save us a few hundred billion dollars.

NorthernCross on May 19, 2012 at 7:18 AM

The USMC made clear its lack of interest in pursuing any role for its ship-borne fixed-wing assets as air-to-air operators when it declined to integrate AMRAAM in the AV-8B+ (a relatively simple matter that both the Spanish and Italian navies embraced).

There is a substantial portion of the Harrier fleet capable of employing AMRAAM at this time. You correct in that the USMC does not have any intention employing them in any capacity that would maximize their capability. The Harrier has done quite well in dedicated strike roles when it had its support structure match its mission i.e. “The Harrier Carrier” in OIF I.

It is true that the main limitation fielding this aircraft via an LHA/LHD is the current USMC structure built around the MEU. Currently a ground Col is the CO for all aviation assets. While that is adequate for the assets currently fielded on the MEU based on the MEU’s mission sets, it will not be adequate when a national asset is under his command. Long story short, I actually see the USMC changing its force deployment structure to match the needs of national policy especially when national policy would like to use these aircraft in many different arenas and not just supplying CAS to Marines on the deck.

I expect Marine air leadership remains perfectly happy keeping its fixed-wing assets focused as exclusively as possible on CAS (particularly where V/STOL is concerned), and leaving the USAF and USN to handle the rest.

The F-35 program has not been stellar by any objective metric, however when the full capability comes on line you can rest assured that an LHD/LHA with 20 or something F-35B’s will have more power projection capability than a current CVN and its subsequent air wing. For better or for worse one of the reasons the USMC signed on to the program was to be on the same field as the AF/USN in a more joint world. I do not think they will be happy just using their 5th Gen strike fighter as a bomb truck vis-a-vis CAS.

Just my $.02

Meat Fighter on May 19, 2012 at 8:22 AM

The rest of the world and particularly our enemy’s weapons development is not standing still.

But contraceptives for all! We are governed by the insane.

dogsoldier on May 19, 2012 at 8:28 AM

stealth is NOT the end-all-be-all super-capability that the air force makes it out to be. it only works on a narrow bandwidth. outside that and it doesn’t work. it also doesn’t deal with infrared, visual, sound, ect.

once defeated, it is built into the aircraft and cannot be removed, upgraded, or changed. you’re stuck.

supercruise engines, sensor fusion, BVR radar and missiles, ect are all components that can, and should, be integrated into older airframes. it will help pilot transition, as well as give a depth of quantity behind the wunderweapons of the F-22 and F-35.

warhorse_03826 on May 19, 2012 at 3:44 AM

The F-22 and F-35 are built for BVR and sensor fusion, and supercruise is only useful in a limited number of circumstances (still uses a lot of fuel). Stealth is vital in BVR engagement, as visual and IR don’t extend that far, and the lower radar bands that can detect stealth fighters cannot be used to guide weaponry (radars have to be too big). There might be ways infringe on it, but it will not be made “useless” in the foreseeable future.

Count to 10 on May 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

All F-111′s are gone, including the Australian ones. And it would prove difficult to bring those back into service, as they’re currently stripped, broken up and buried (however, I fully expect there is something of a Superhornet mafia lurking about the Australian political scene, and from a cost vs. capability perspective they aren’t entirely without a case).

Blacklake on May 19, 2012 at 1:12 AM

I think Australia has already bought some Super Hornets to replace its F-111′s as a stopgap until the F-35 goes into production.

Yakko77 on May 19, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I am sincerely in awe of some of the aviation smarts we have commenting here.

hawkdriver on May 19, 2012 at 12:15 PM

I am sincerely in awe of some of the aviation smarts we have commenting here.

hawkdriver on May 19, 2012 at 12:15 PM

I’ll second that sentiment.

Moose Drool on May 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I understand the concerns with ageing aircraft, but a greater distinction between aircraft + platform need to be made.

As many have posted, modern F15s are still phenomenal aircraft, superior to almost every interceptor/ground striker in the world. Modern versions Israel has picked up here for example, are breathtakingly capable aircraft, state of the art. Built on an original platform that itself has the gold record for effectiveness + service. As a platform with modern avionics + upgrades, I would not want to mess with an air force decked out with F15s.

saus on May 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM

You’re actually quite wrong. The Air Force is quite literally cutting airplanes and cutting personnel. There’s no way to claim that this is “not really a cut.” If a unit has 10 less planes it’s flying, it’s a real cut. If a unit loses 60 enlisted members who were not allowed to reenlist, it’s a real cut.

Everyone thought it was going to just be a gimmick, and that Congress would come back and reauthorize the military to prevent military cuts, but that didn’t happen. The cuts are real. Maybe you’re fine with that, but don’t pretend it’s not happening.

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 19, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Is the budget for the Air Force going to be less in 2013 than it is in 2012? The answer is no. When was the last time any government agency actually spent less one year than they spent the previous year? You’d be hard pressed to find an example pretty much ever.

Now, you can argue that because the Air Force equipment is aging, and we’re doing more overseas, and so forth that they have to spend more money or they’re going to have to cut back on equipment, personnel, etc. And that might be true. But that’s different from a budget cut. If you spend $50 this year and you spend $75 next year, that’s not a budget cut, no matter what’s going on with your equipment, personnel, or anything else.

Shump on May 19, 2012 at 9:57 PM

hawkdriver on May 18, 2012 at 7:22 PM
Oldnuke on May 18, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Two worthless bags of sh*t who are part of the problem.

woodNfish on May 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Two worthless bags of sh*t who are part of the problem.

woodNfish on May 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM

If you had a clue what you were talking about, I’d be offended. As it is, I’ll clalk you up to someone who is so simplistic in his thinking that you neither debate or offend with any specificity as to what you’re talking about.

hawkdriver on May 19, 2012 at 11:38 PM

chalk you up …

hawkdriver on May 19, 2012 at 11:42 PM

You’re actually quite wrong. The Air Force is quite literally cutting airplanes and cutting personnel. There’s no way to claim that this is “not really a cut.” If a unit has 10 less planes it’s flying, it’s a real cut. If a unit loses 60 enlisted members who were not allowed to reenlist, it’s a real cut.

Everyone thought it was going to just be a gimmick, and that Congress would come back and reauthorize the military to prevent military cuts, but that didn’t happen. The cuts are real. Maybe you’re fine with that, but don’t pretend it’s not happening.

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 19, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Is the budget for the Air Force going to be less in 2013 than it is in 2012? The answer is no.

The answer is yes. The Air Force will be smaller in both equipment and personnel. They are already scrambling to make do with less.

We were speaking of the Air Force, weren’t we?

When was the last time any government agency actually spent less one year than they spent the previous year? You’d be hard pressed to find an example pretty much ever.

Now, you can argue that because the Air Force equipment is aging, and we’re doing more overseas, and so forth that they have to spend more money or they’re going to have to cut back on equipment, personnel, etc. And that might be true. But that’s different from a budget cut. If you spend $50 this year and you spend $75 next year, that’s not a budget cut, no matter what’s going on with your equipment, personnel, or anything else.

Shump on May 19, 2012 at 9:57 PM

We’re talking about the Air Force specifically. In general, it’s tru that the budget keeps going up for most items in government, and that they dishonestly call it “cutting spending” when all they’re really cutting is the extra spending they wanted to do on top of last year’s budget.

But don’t let the general rule blind you to the simple fact that the military is being cut NOW. I’ll say it again: if the Air Force has fewer people and fewer planes, those are real cuts, not just politicalspeak.

Entitlements are what’s breaking us, not defense spending.

There Goes The Neighborhood on May 20, 2012 at 12:56 AM

I think Australia has already bought some Super Hornets to replace its F-111′s as a stopgap until the F-35 goes into production.

Yakko77 on May 19, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Yes, they’ve replaced their F-111 force with F/A-18F’s, and are apparently quite happy with the plane (of course, I’m sure the pilots who actually transitioned from the former to the latter are downright ecstatic…). The last batch they’ve purchased are even pre-wired for conversion to EA-18G Growler standard. The question facing them now is if they’ll continue with plans to replace their “legacy” Hornets with F-35A’s, or simply buy more Superhornets. So far they’re still on-board with JSF, but considering at current pricing one can almost (though not quite) buy two Superhornets for the price of one F-35, and that in several respects the Superhornet is a more versatile aircraft, I’d expect this will be an ongoing debate down under.

Blacklake on May 20, 2012 at 1:22 AM

If you had a clue what you were talking about, I’d be offended. As it is, I’ll clalk you up to someone who is so simplistic in his thinking that you neither debate or offend with any specificity as to what you’re talking about.

hawkdriver on May 19, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Not worth the time to even respond to Hawk. Why waste the effort on a low life coward who would never be able to cough up enough balls to say something like that to your face. Pathetic loser.

Oldnuke on May 20, 2012 at 6:53 AM

woodNfish on May 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM

What is the solution, champ?

tom daschle concerned on May 20, 2012 at 7:06 AM

the lower radar bands that can detect stealth fighters cannot be used to guide weaponry (radars have to be too big). There might be ways infringe on it, but it will not be made “useless” in the foreseeable future.

Count to 10 on May 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

just use LIDAR. you don’t even have to detect the target itself…LIDAR can detect the wake of water particles displaced as the aircraft moves. get the missile close enough and switch to another terminal guidance system, like infrared or millimeter wave radar (or both).

missiles change much faster than aircraft, mostly due to their expendable nature. expect to see steatlh-defeating missiles soon, odds are they are already in development.

warhorse_03826 on May 20, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Blacklake on May 20, 2012 at 1:22 AM

If the JSF project keeps hitting snags, Boeing is going to make a killing with increased Super Hornet sales.

Yakko77 on May 20, 2012 at 8:11 PM

A good idea is to give the older equipment like the F15 to nations like the Philippines who are trying to build an air force to counter China bullying in Philippine West Sea (south China Sea). It still would go to good use and it will be much more affordable for Philippines to refurbish them than to build anew.

Ed Laskie on May 20, 2012 at 11:24 PM

A good idea is to give the older equipment like the F15 to nations like the Philippines who are trying to build an air force to counter China bullying in Philippine West Sea (south China Sea). It still would go to good use and it will be much more affordable for Philippines to refurbish them than to build anew.

Ed Laskie on May 20, 2012 at 11:24 PM

The problem with the emerging “fighter gap” is that most of the airframes in question have already gone through life-extension programs (some multiple times) and are quite simply reaching the absolute ends of their structural lives. This is certainly the case with the F-15C, and hours are rapidly catching up with the “legacy” F/A-18A+/C/D force, too. If the airframes could be passed on cheaply to foreign buyers they could be kept aloft cheaply by the US as well. But within about five to ten years the planes will simply no longer be safely flyable by anyone. And with the F-35 the only fighter program in the procurement pipe, the only choice left the US is to replace all its “weary” aircraft with this new type, or to replace them, effectively, with new-built incremental improvements of themselves (i.e., new-built block 5x/6x F-16′s for old block 3x/4x F-16s, F/A-18E/F’s for F-18A+/C/D’s…and there’s nothing still in produciton in the case of AV-8B and the F-15C, as the F-15E is at this point well equipped to defend itself for a strike fighter but quite far removed from parity with the C in the air superiority arena).

Blacklake on May 21, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Blacklake on May 21, 2012 at 12:01 AM

F-16 “Viper”, F-15 Silent Eagle and F-18 E/F Super Hornet. Plenty of U.S. options other than F-35. Let alone the options from France, Sweden, China (mainly Russian copies), all the nations involved with Eurofighter (EADS & BAe), and the Russian Sukhoi and Mig developers.

Yakko77 on May 21, 2012 at 3:48 AM

tom daschle concerned on May 20, 2012 at 7:06 AM
What is the solution, champ?

First of all Tom, you have to believe there is a problem that needs a solution. There isn’t. The real problem is the US is broke and it needs to stop spending more money. We need cuts across the board and we need to outright eliminate some agencies, such as Education, the EPA, Agriculture, etc. I’m sure you can add a few to the list.

But mostly, we need to bring our troops home, and close our foreign bases and learn how to mind our own business. That all by itself will tremendously cut the need for such a huge bloated military budget.

woodNfish on May 21, 2012 at 1:50 PM

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