Author Topic: USAF Woes  (Read 135890 times)

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Offline Dimsum

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #350 on: September 27, 2018, 19:19:28 »
I would rather see industry grow their own air crews.

Yeah, but that costs money and time.  Meanwhile you can pull from disgruntled military pilots until the end of time (or the USAF/USN has completely autonomous aircraft).
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #351 on: September 27, 2018, 19:32:10 »
A friend sent his kid to a university that after 4 years gave him a multiengine pilots license and I guess he was hired by a regional airline and went on to a major airline so you are correct that it takes time.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #352 on: September 27, 2018, 20:26:31 »
A friend sent his kid to a university that after 4 years gave him a multiengine pilots license and I guess he was hired by a regional airline and went on to a major airline so you are correct that it takes time.

And that's the best case scenario for the friend's kid.  Until recently, once you got said licenses you had to work bush flying, flight instructing, or whatever for years (5 wasn't uncommon) to build up your hours.  Regionals at the time in Canada weren't even considering anything less than 2000+ hours.  Now they'll take 1000 or even less - I've heard rumblings of 750 and that some will take people right off the bat at 200. 

Mind you you'll be a First Officer for a long time and still build hours.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

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Offline GR66

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #353 on: September 28, 2018, 01:12:59 »
Perhaps this is a move by the USAF to overstate their new requirements, in the hopes they will be able to generate another 20 squadrons instead?  (Like the US Navy saying we need 355 ships, knowing full well they will NEVER get to that number, but the effort to do so will boost hulls in the water nonetheless?)


And why the need for 74 new squadrons? 

If the USAF & NATO air forces are truly engaged in an air-to-air war...why the need for 74 new squadrons?  Given the enemy will be losing aircraft & pilots far more quickly than they could possibly replace them, any "force on force" theatre will quickly turn into an "overwhelming force" and "losing force" fairly quickly - within the first few days I'd imagine.

Sure, 74 new squadrons in the case of an all out war would be handy.  But what happens after the first month, when air superiority is EVENTUALLY gained?  Now you've got a ton of new squadrons flying CAP & assisting ground units the way they do now?

I'll start by admitting that I don't claim to know the number of squadrons that the USAF should have, but I do admire your confidence in the ability of the US military to totally dominate enemy air forces.

I didn't do any extensive search, but this website claims to compare the number of fighter aircraft by country in 2018 (https://www.globalfirepower.com/aircraft-total-fighters.asp).  Of course that's just numbers of aircraft and doesn't take into account the qualitative difference between US and Chinese/Russian aircraft.

However, it may be wise to take a number of things into account.  Like it or not, the "West" has given the role of global policeman to the US.  If the proverbial excrement hits the oscillating air current distribution device, it will be the US that will take on the task of making the bulk of the military response.

What might that entail?  Say the US gets in a shooting war with either Russia or China.  What kind of air power will the US need to muster in response?

- Fighter aircraft to take on the air-to-air role in order to try and gain air superiority.
- Multi-role aircraft to take part in the ground support role.
- Strategic strike aircraft to hit targets supporting the enemy operations (transportation hubs, supply columns, strategic fuel reserves, production facilities, etc.)

But since the US is physically located far from the point of conflict they will also need:

- Aircraft to defend the continental US, US logistical bases, ports of entry for US forces, Allied supply lines, etc.
- Air cover to defend attempts to disrupt US/Allied airlift and sealift operations to bring combat forces to the area of conflict.

Now say the US comes into conflict with China over Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea.  Might Russia take this opportunity to make a play for the Baltic states while the US is already engaged in a major peer conflict in Asia?  Might North Korea launch an attack on South Korea to pin down US forces?  Might Iran take the opportunity to seize the Shia regions of Iraq, or the Arab states launch attacks on Israel?

I know that is a worst case scenario, but how many squadrons would the USAF need to face all of those conflicts at once? 

And as for your last point "But what happens after the first month, when air superiority is EVENTUALLY gained?  Now you've got a ton of new squadrons flying CAP & assisting ground units the way they do now?".  My answer to this would be YES!  The whole point of gaining air superiority is to be able to redirect your air forces to be able to focus on the enemy's ground forces. 

I don't think it would be wise to underestimate the strength of the ground forces of our potential enemies (and their GBAD capabilities and indirect fire capabilities).  It should be a primary goal of the US (and the rest of the West if we decide to carry our weight) to be able to sweep the skies of enemy aircraft so that we can overwhelm our opponents ground forces so that we don't have to see our ground forces facing potentially numerically superior enemy forces. 

How many squadrons does that objective take?  I'm not sure, but maybe they are not wrong in thinking it's more than they have now.

 :2c:

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #354 on: September 28, 2018, 01:15:39 »
The pay is good for a kid with college debt. It aint cheap. Here is a link.Might be better going USAF ROTC and learn to fly C17's IMO.

https://polytechnic.purdue.edu/schools/aviation-and-transportation-technology

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #355 on: September 28, 2018, 01:20:48 »
Too bad the USAF cut short their F22 program,but no doubt money played a part. If they want 74 squadrons or 1480 more fighters I wonder what the mix will be ? More F35's  ?

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #356 on: September 28, 2018, 10:54:10 »
Maybe they could be talked into re-opening the C17 line?
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #357 on: September 28, 2018, 11:37:03 »
It would take a big order to reopen I think.Although Boeing is supporting aircraft already in service. 

http://aviationweek.com/defense/boeing-ends-c-17-production-california

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #358 on: September 28, 2018, 12:37:05 »
Seen.

But I can't help but think the Canada is not the only place where those aircraft have been, and still are, being ridden hard.  Though the economics/politics of repair vs replace are always hard to calculate.
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Offline CBH99

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #359 on: September 28, 2018, 15:20:12 »
It surprises me that Boeing did that.

I realize a lot of western air forces, including some in the middle east, really filled out their air transport fleets in the last decade with C-17's -- I think those aircraft are being ridden hard by almost everybody.  Environmental factors contributing to things also (coastal areas with salty air, for example.)

I'm surprised they didn't keep some sort of capacity to build as needed (although I'm sure the economics wouldn't be in favour of that) - because as of right now, the only airlifter being produced by the west is the A400M.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #360 on: September 28, 2018, 15:20:45 »
This is a common mistake the USAF makes in prematurely shutting down production of transports. It was done with the Galaxy IMO.

Online Colin P

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #361 on: October 06, 2018, 14:09:47 »
It's odd when you think that you can't find enough people to fly fighter jets, you really need to think about what you are doing wrong when that happens. As for the Transports, they should be looking at a long term rebuild program followed by a new replacement, a replacement that is a evolutionary improvement of the C-17 that can go into slow production and produce X number of aircraft a year that nations can slowly upgrade with.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #362 on: October 06, 2018, 14:25:55 »
Colin P: Perhaps KC-390 now that Boeing (which Pentagon seems to like, as opposed to LockMart these days, with three recent contracts--MQ-25 drone for USN, MH-139 helos for Army and T-X trainer for USAF https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2018/09/28/boeings-big-month-capped-off-with-hat-trick-of-new-contracts/) is teamed up with Embraer. Plane might over time have substantial international market as alternative to C-130J:

Quote
Boeing, Embraer reportedly in talks to bring KC-390 production to US

Boeing and Brazilian aerospace company Embraer are reportedly discussing the prospect of building an assembly line for Embraer’s KC-390 cargo planes in the United States.

According to Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico, which first reported the talks on Oct. 1, and a subsequent Reuters story, the two companies see a U.S. KC-390 plant as part of a larger defense-related joint venture.

The discussions on KC-390 follow a July agreement that gave Boeing an 80 percent stake in Embraer’s commercial business, and it was widely speculated that a similar deal on the companies’ defense business hammered out in the coming months would involve greater cooperation with Boeing on KC-390.

Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, told Defense News this July that more information about a Boeing-Embraer tie up on KC-390 could be revealed later this year.

Boeing and Embraer established agreements in 2012 and 2014 that allow the U.S. firm to have a hand in global marketing and logistics support of the KC-390, but a defense-related joint venture would allow for “much broader collaboration,” he said.

“Boeing has fantastic experience, [and] the KC-390 is a fantastic plane; it is a game-changer,” he said at Farnborough Airshow. “But I understand that we don’t have a substantial number of clients yet because we are in the certification phase. For sure I think that the Boeing presence in the market is very complementary of what we have. It will enlarge significantly our opportunities in terms of sales.”

The KC-390 is a multi-mission aircraft built to haul cargo, transport passengers, insert special operators and refuel other aircraft, among other uses. However, Embraer has struggled to draw serious interest from international buyers and Brazil currently remains its only customer — although the aircraft has prospects in Portugal and New Zealand and with a commercial aviation services company.

“A decision to build the aircraft in the U.S. would likely only be undertaken if Boeing/Embraer could sell KC-390 to the [U.S.] Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps,” wrote Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners in an email.

That could be a tall order, as the U.S. services historically have operated Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules for the same purpose and are either in the process of replacing old variants with new ones, or lack the money to replace old C-130s and plan to recapitalize them instead.

The U.S. Air Force is upgrading active units’ older C-130 models to the newest C-130J Super Hercules, but the service does not have the funding to expand the current C-130J program of record and will have to upgrade some C-130H models, said Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the services deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, during a Sept. 28 hearing in front of a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

Meanwhile, the Navy plans to replace its C-130T fleet with 25 new KC-130Js in the early 2020s, Rear Adm. Scott Conn, the service’s director of air warfare, said in the hearing.
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/10/04/boeing-embraer-reportedly-in-talks-on-bringing-kc-390-production-to-us/

Mark
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Offline Dimsum

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #363 on: October 07, 2018, 13:02:58 »
Those are the same hot cups that the Aurora (and Herc?) have for boiling water.  I don't think anyone has used them in a while, prob b/c we can't afford to replace them at almost $1700 CAD per cup  :o 

Quote
Grassley asks Air Force why squadron bought $1,280 coffee cups

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wants the Air Force to explain why a squadron at California's Travis Air Force Base is buying metal coffee cups that cost $1,280 each.

Grassley cited a recent Fox News report that found the 60th Ariel Port Squadron had spent a total of nearly $56,000 in the past three years, because the cups' handles break easily when dropped.

In a letter addressed to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Grassley called the report an example of "reckless spending of taxpayer dollars" within the Defense Department, and said he doubts the Air Force is taking  "real steps" to reduce wasteful spending.

[snip]

Earlier this year, Grassley demanded the Air Force explain why it was spending $14,000 on individual toilet seat covers. He said he has yet to receive "satisfactory answers" to his questions about the expensive covers.


https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senator-chuck-grassley-wants-air-force-explain-squadron-buys-expensive-1280-coffee-cups/
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 13:05:58 by Dimsum »
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline standingdown

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #364 on: October 07, 2018, 13:27:10 »
Those are the same hot cups that the Aurora (and Herc?) have for boiling water.  I don't think anyone has used them in a while, prob b/c we can't afford to replace them at almost $1700 CAD per cup  :o 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senator-chuck-grassley-wants-air-force-explain-squadron-buys-expensive-1280-coffee-cups/

You don't actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #365 on: October 07, 2018, 17:10:42 »
A crew chief once showed me how to heat coffee in a C130 by putting it in a certain spot in the cockpit.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #366 on: October 07, 2018, 17:58:53 »


Mark
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The KC-390 is more a competitor to the 130J as I see it, the C-17 payload is significantly bigger, both in volume and weight.

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #367 on: October 07, 2018, 18:07:38 »
You don't actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdmH47VNiS4

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #368 on: October 09, 2018, 13:17:07 »
Ambitious:

Quote
Mattis orders fighter jet readiness to jump to 80 percent — in one year

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has ordered the Air Force and Navy to get mission capable rates for four key tactical aircraft up above 80 percent by the end of next September, a daunting challenge given the current readiness rates of America’s fighter fleets.

In a memo issued Sept. 17 to the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy, along with acquisition head Ellen Lord and acting Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Stephanie Barna, Mattis acknowledges “budget constraints and shortfalls in aviation squadrons across the force” have led to “systemic underperformance, overcapitalization and unrealized capacity” in the fighter fleets.

“For change to be effective and efficient, we must focus on meeting our most critical priorities first,” Mattis wrote in the memo, obtained exclusively by Defense News.

Specifically, that means achieving a minimum of 80 percent mission capability rates for the Pentagon’s F-35, F-22, F-16 and F-18 inventories — a number well above the mission capability rates those aircraft now achieve. In addition, Mattis wants to see reduced operating and maintenance costs on the platforms, starting in FY19.

The Air Force updates its public readiness figures annually, with the most recent numbers, released in March, covering fiscal year 2017. According to those numbers, 71.3 percent of the Air Force’s aircraft were flyable, or mission-capable, at any given time in FY17. That represented a drop from the 72.1 percent mission-capable rate in FY16, and is part of a bigger picture of decline across the fleet.

Specific to tactical aircraft, the F-16C fleet reported a mission capable rate of 70.22 percent, the just-standing-up F-35A a 54.67 percent mission capable rate, and the F-22 Raptor a shocking 49.01 mission capable rate. While not covered by Mattis’ memo, the F-15C (71.24 percent) and F-15E (75.26 percent) were also below the threshold now sought by the secretary.

The Raptor’s rates stand out as the most alarming. When the F-22 was first used in combat towards the end of 2014, its mission capable rate was over 70 percent; as use has increased, its rates have dropped dramatically.

Navy figures are released less regularly, but in an Aug. 7 media roundtable, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told reporters that the service started 2018 with 241 fully mission capable aircraft, and he said had increased to 270 by the time he met with the press. And almost half of the Navy’s 546 Super Hornets are now mission capable, he said — well below Mattis’ target...
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/10/09/mattis-orders-fighter-jet-readiness-to-jump-to-80-percent-in-one-year/

Mark
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Offline CBH99

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #369 on: October 09, 2018, 15:18:31 »
Is the solution potentially newer airframes that require less maintenance and/or break less often?  Or simply limiting flying operations to an extent, so you don't keep breaking the airplanes?

I don't know how you increase availability to 80% if your continuing to fly the same airframes for the same number of hours each month/year.  Extra spare parts may help, but constantly "flying the wings off" of them & the shortage of maintenance personnel is only going to continue to exasperate the situation if the fundamentals don't change. 


**Kind of ironic that the A-10 isn't included in what Mattis, I'm assuming, is counting as his primary fighting forces in a near peer conflict.  The A-10 could be doing a vast majority of the work currently being done in the ME by F-16 & F-15 crews, easing the pressure on those fleets.  Too bad they want to retire it so bad, and keep circumventing Congress in Congress' efforts to keep the fleet active PRECISELY to take the strain off of the primary A2A fleets.


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20019/life-on-the-flight-line-confessions-of-a-u-s-marine-f-a-18-hornet-maintainer
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #370 on: October 10, 2018, 09:57:17 »
Somehow the B52 still flies.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #371 on: October 11, 2018, 00:17:47 »
Is the solution potentially newer airframes that require less maintenance and/or break less often?  Or simply limiting flying operations to an extent, so you don't keep breaking the airplanes?

We need a modern day Le May, of course :)

"In a discussion of a report into high abort rates in bomber missions during World War II, which Robert McNamara suspected was because of pilot fear of death, Robert McNamara described LeMay's character: One of the commanders was Curtis LeMay—Colonel in command of a B-24 group. He was the finest combat commander of any service I came across in war. But he was extraordinarily belligerent, many thought brutal. He got the report. He issued an order. He said, 'I will be in the lead plane on every mission. Any plane that takes off will go over the target, or the crew will be court-martialed.' The abort rate dropped overnight. Now that's the kind of commander he was."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_LeMay
 
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #372 on: October 11, 2018, 10:53:31 »
Doesn't the Mattis list reflect the need to gain air superiority first?

Once, as always, air superiority is gained and the US owns the skies, then they can support the air-land battle with any air frame - 100 year old bombers, converted transports, turbo-prop trainers, helicopters and UAVs.

Can the US gain air superiority - taking out the enemies air defences and its attack fleet?
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #373 on: October 11, 2018, 12:54:27 »
Cf. the RCAF's personel problems, amongst other things:

Quote
GAO Report on U.S. Air Force Readiness
October 11, 2018 6:32 AM

The following is the Oct. 10, 2018 Government Accountability Office report [follows at end of quote], Air Force Readiness: Actions Needed to Rebuild Readiness and Prepare for the Future.
From the Report

GAO’s prior work has highlighted that the Air Force faces management and readiness challenges in four interrelated areas:

    Personnel: The Air Force has reported that pilot and aircraft maintainer shortfalls are a key challenge to rebuilding readiness. GAO found in April 2018 that the Air Force had fewer fighter pilots than authorizations for 11 of 12 years, from fiscal years 2006 through 2017. Even as unmanned aerial systems had become more prevalent and fighter pilot workloads had increased, the Air Force had not reevaluated fighter squadron requirements. GAO recommended that the Air Force reevaluate fighter pilot squadron requirements to ensure it has the pilots necessary for all missions.
    Equipment: Air Force aircraft availability has been limited by challenges associated with aging aircraft, maintenance, and supply support. GAO reported in September 2018 that, from fiscal year 2011 through 2016, the Air Force generally did not meet availability goals for key aircraft. Further, in October 2017 GAO found F-35 availability was below service expectations and sustainment plans did not include key requirements. GAO recommended that DOD revise F-35 sustainment plans to include requirements and decision points needed to implement the F-35 sustainment strategy.
    Training: The Air Force has identified the need to ensure its forces can successfully achieve missions to address a broad range of current and emerging threats. However, GAO reported in September 2016 that Air Force combat fighter squadrons did not complete annual training requirements due to aircraft availability and training range limitations, and had used the same underlying assumptions for its annual training requirements from 2012 to 2016. GAO recommended that the Air Force reassess its annual training requirements to ensure its forces can accomplish a full range of missions.
    Organization and Utilization: Air Force management of its force structure can also exacerbate readiness challenges. GAO found in July 2018 that the Air Force’s organization of its small F-22 fleet had not maximized aircraft availability, and that its utilization of F-22s reduced opportunities for pilots to train for missions in high-threat environments. GAO found that unless the Air Force assesses the organization and use of its F-22s, F-22 units are likely to continue to experience aircraft availability and pilot training rates that are below what they could be. GAO recommended that the Air Force reassess its F-22 organizational structure to reduce risk to future operations.

Looking to the future, the Air Force will have to balance the rebuilding of its existing force with its desire to grow and modernize. To meet current and future demands, the Air Force has stated that it needs to have more squadrons. However, the costs of such growth are as yet unknown, and will have to compete with other military services looking to increase their force structure and recapitalize their forces. Even with growth, the Air Force would be dependent on the force of today for decades to come and will need to stay focused on rebuilding the readiness of existing forces. Addressing GAO’s recommendations are necessary steps to meet current and future needs and can assist the Air Force moving forward...
https://news.usni.org/2018/10/11/gao-report-u-s-air-force-readiness

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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #374 on: October 11, 2018, 13:56:54 »
Way out of my lane, but I find it interesting that Mattis, of all people, thinks that writing a memo demanding a certain percentage availability rate will actually result in that number. Did he provide the corresponding budget and miracle wand? Would it not have been a better metric to hold the air force to X number of concentrations of aircraft available and ready to be deployed (together with parts, weapons etc). Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the RCAF aspiration to have a 6 Pack ready to go on a warning order and X number ready to scramble for NORAD air intercept, rather than percentages?