Friday, July 31, 2015

Bad to Worse?

It has been widely report that around 20% of Marine Corps aircraft are grounded awaiting maintenance.  What aircraft are these?  They’re mostly Hornets but also include Harriers, MV-22s, and helos.  In other words, they’re older, legacy aircraft.  Compared to modern F-22/35s, we could go so far as to say they’re simple and basic machines.  And yet, 20% are grounded awaiting maintenance.

OK, that’s not a good situation but what’s the point?

Consider that 20% figure and the “simpleness” of those aircraft and ask yourself what the maintenance situation will be like when the Marines convert to the F-35, a vastly, hugely, immensely, greatly, stupendously [alright, that’s enough adjectives to covey the meaning] more complex aircraft.  Do you think maintenance availabilities will increase?  Of course not!  If we can’t keep “simple” machines running, how will we keep profoundly more complex machines running?  The incredibly more complex F-35 will suffer even worse maintenance availability. 

Adoption of the F-35 by the Marines will exacerbate an already deplorable maintenance situation.


  1. AWM or AWP?

    I ask because back in the 70's are F-4s were down awaiting parts. The Navy decided to cut Depot funding so that until the float for an item was exhausted Depot could not repair one.

    AWM would mean they have too many gripes, or are short techs, or hangar space, or test equipment.

    Either case is scary but the root causes can vary widely.

  2. The F-18s is probably inevitable. They are past their airframe lives and need to be replaced.

    The Harriers too are old and VTOL was never reliable.

    The F-35 and MV-22 though are less explicable.
    - F-35 was advertised to be more reliable (and unsurprisingly), it may be a step backwards. It is very problem plagued.
    - MV-22 was always problem plagued. Two DOT&E chiefs said it was deficient operationally.

    To be honest, neither program is a good program and they are sucking up money for the USMC.

  3. "The F-18s is probably inevitable. They are past their airframe lives and need to be replaced."

    Alt, with respect, that's a fallacy. They are not past their airframe lives unless we want them to be. Aircraft can be rewinged, re-fuselaged, re-tailed, re-anythinged. In fact, the Hornets are being rewinged and are having some type of central body section replaced to extend their lives. The A-10 is being rewinged and having other upgrades performed (while the AF is trying to retire them!). Consider the champion of infinite aircraft life, the B-52. How far past its supposed lifespan is that?

    It's just a matter of cost-benefit calculations. Given the cost of the F-35, we can justify a LOT of Hornet upgrades and life extensions!

    1. Exactly, compared to foreign nations US are very lavish in their major maintenance rebuild periods. It could be that these strip down to the basics periods are taking longer for budgetary reasons.

    2. I suppose a more accurate account would be - they are past their lives given the level of maintenance versus hours in the air they have. The point I suppose is that they aren't getting the needed maintenance. That and money is being misspent.

      8000 hours roughly is when you start getting cracks in the airframe.

      Bombers I suppose are not entirely a fair comparison as they don't have to pull as high g's as a fighter. CAS aircraft though do.

      By comparison, the oldest 747s can be over 120k+ hours.

  4. 100% right, more complex more maintenance.

    I think that is exactly the point of the ALIS system ?



Comments will be moderated for posts older than 7 days in order to reduce spam.