Tuesday, May 3, 2011

UBL, Old Systems cost, UAVs, PRC

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members, all of us at AFA HQ congratulate and thank all the men and women who have sacrificed so much to make the killing of UBL possible. This moment of achievement greatly reflects on the dedication and determination of our armed forces, who refused to tire, falter and fail. We salute them for their courage, we thank them for their perseverance and we remember them for their sacrifices.

Secondly, many on the Hill have asked me why can’t the Air Force operate old systems far out into the future. The answer is simple. Old systems can’t always operate in the threat areas of the future. They break more often which causes maintenance nightmares for our Airmen. And they cost more to repair. On the latter point, we put together a slide to show you what this means. See: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2011/Aging_Fleet.pdf.  Note that these are the average costs per year from 05-09 – and multiply across the years. For an older system, like a bomber, this means that the cost per flying hour in 2009 is almost 50% greater than in 05. Not surprisingly, the older the system, the greater the cost per flying hour.

Third, one of our members, Roger O’Daniel from Minneapolis, MN has penned an op-ed on the Myths of unmanned aircraft. [One he left out is … there is nothing “unmanned” about an unmanned aircraft. So important is this that the Air Force has, for the past few years, used the term, Remotely Piloted Aircraft.] The piece offers explanations that I have not seen elsewhere. You can read it at this link: http://www.afa.org/members/CommTools/apa/APA_Notes/2011/Myths_of_RPA's.pdf.

Fourth, the Chinese have rolled out yet another new fighter – dubbed the J-15 Flying Shark. It is designed to be deployed aboard China’s new aircraft carrier, the Shi Lang … which comes out in a few years. You can find a description of it at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/world/asia/26fighter.html? partner=rss&emc=rss

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

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