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kitplane01
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US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 7:37 am

Image

Reading page two of the report ... it looks like they did NOT cherry-pick the worst of the data. But instead, they picked some aircraft types via a criteria and then discovered that the readiness rates are in the decline for EVERY SINGLE type they looked at. https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-22-104533.pdf

Interestingly ... maintenece positions are staffed at about maybe 95% levels for these aircraft. (See page 16)

Worst thing I read ... the USAF and USN keeps track of long-term-grounded aircraft, and judges maintenece units on that number. Therefore units will rotate parts among aircraft such that the total number of aircraft working is fixed, but fewer aircraft are long-term-grounded. It's extra work for no benefit.(Page 15)

Parts shortages have somewhat gotten worse (Page 23)

Aircraft utilization was about the same or maybe down (depends on the particular aircraft) (Page 30)
 
Avatar2go
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 8:11 am

This report is just an update of an earlier report from 2021, which is far more detailed on a per-aircraft basis, and the reasons for the decline in each case.

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-21-101sp.pdf

One thing little discussed is that the services have sufficient numbers of aircraft that they have been able to meet their mission objectives. Parts continue to be an issue for an aging aircraft fleet. Except for the F-35, where parts availability is a function of both new aircraft production, and the structure of the program contracts.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 1:43 pm

Lots of numbers, there’s some truth, some politics. Aug 1990, we were still converting to C-5, lots of beat up old A-models, about 50% termed MC. We were tasked with generating all available planes, by the next evening at 1am, I left with the last of 12 on the ramp. Peacetime v. wartime.
 
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par13del
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 2:03 pm

Interesting number for me is the 95% staffing of the maintenance positions, how did the US Air Force get to use staffing as a reason for mothballing the A-10 fleet?
If the F-35 was at 95% where were the A-10 maintainers going to go.......like they say, numbers...statistics.....etc etc etc.
 
bpatus297
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 2:51 pm

I know we live in a different world, but I still find it strange these numbers are so easy to obtain. Imagine what the USSR would have done to try to get this information 40 or so years ago.
 
johns624
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 4:58 pm

bpatus297 wrote:
I know we live in a different world, but I still find it strange these numbers are so easy to obtain. Imagine what the USSR would have done to try to get this information 40 or so years ago.
I wonder what Russia's current numbers look like?
 
GDB
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 5:13 pm

johns624 wrote:
bpatus297 wrote:
I know we live in a different world, but I still find it strange these numbers are so easy to obtain. Imagine what the USSR would have done to try to get this information 40 or so years ago.
I wonder what Russia's current numbers look like?


Probably enough to rename them the Potemkin Air Force.
We have already known of the dismal flying hours compared to NATO, the lack of advanced training and exercises, maybe some of that is due to serviceability as well as not moving on from the old Soviet model doctines.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Fri Jun 17, 2022 10:53 pm

par13del wrote:
Interesting number for me is the 95% staffing of the maintenance positions, how did the US Air Force get to use staffing as a reason for mothballing the A-10 fleet?
If the F-35 was at 95% where were the A-10 maintainers going to go.......like they say, numbers...statistics.....etc etc etc.

Problem I've heard was an issue of qualifications and seniority; you have enough bodies, but not enough of the bodies can sign off on work, or is qualified to do the work because they lack training, and at best can just stand there.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:33 am

ThePointblank wrote:
par13del wrote:
Interesting number for me is the 95% staffing of the maintenance positions, how did the US Air Force get to use staffing as a reason for mothballing the A-10 fleet?
If the F-35 was at 95% where were the A-10 maintainers going to go.......like they say, numbers...statistics.....etc etc etc.

Problem I've heard was an issue of qualifications and seniority; you have enough bodies, but not enough of the bodies can sign off on work, or is qualified to do the work because they lack training, and at best can just stand there.


The report speaks to exactly this issue. About page 17
"Our analysis of maintenance personnel data for selected aircraft found that Air Force maintainer skill level staffing improved from fiscal year 2015 through fiscal year 2020 ... Navy staffing and qualification rates of maintainers by skill level generally worsened but remained at high levels from fiscal year 2015 through fiscal year 2020".
 
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kitplane01
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:34 am

par13del wrote:
Interesting number for me is the 95% staffing of the maintenance positions, how did the US Air Force get to use staffing as a reason for mothballing the A-10 fleet?
If the F-35 was at 95% where were the A-10 maintainers going to go.......like they say, numbers...statistics.....etc etc etc.


Probably because (1) they want to mainain the 95% for the aircraft they care about and (2) the A-10 is their lowest priority???
 
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kitplane01
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:38 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Lots of numbers, there’s some truth, some politics. Aug 1990, we were still converting to C-5, lots of beat up old A-models, about 50% termed MC. We were tasked with generating all available planes, by the next evening at 1am, I left with the last of 12 on the ramp. Peacetime v. wartime.



I'm interested. And I believe what you wrote. But why would these numbers so universally decline? What's changed?

I understand you're telling us that a single number cannot capture the full complexity .. but when all the numbers changed in the same direction there is something actual is going on. And it's even true for planes like the B-1 and F-22, which were not the most engaged aircraft in the war in 2015 nor 2020.

Any conjecture about what's changed?
 
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kitplane01
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:39 am

bpatus297 wrote:
I know we live in a different world, but I still find it strange these numbers are so easy to obtain. Imagine what the USSR would have done to try to get this information 40 or so years ago.


Democracy means informing voters.

Now try and get these numbers from the Luftwaffe or the RAF.

I'm glad we have a more open government.
 
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par13del
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 2:15 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
par13del wrote:
Interesting number for me is the 95% staffing of the maintenance positions, how did the US Air Force get to use staffing as a reason for mothballing the A-10 fleet?
If the F-35 was at 95% where were the A-10 maintainers going to go.......like they say, numbers...statistics.....etc etc etc.


Probably because (1) they want to mainain the 95% for the aircraft they care about and (2) the A-10 is their lowest priority???

So that was being done in conjunction with the OEM producing more parts to specs and ensuring that adequate spares were available for deployed a/c, as everyone stood around awaiting spares, not just the folks with the pens.
My opinion, the fast jet folks were just trying to use something else to get out of low level on demand CAS, they just love their fast fighters dropping bombs from on high.
 
Buckeyetech
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 2:39 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Lots of numbers, there’s some truth, some politics. Aug 1990, we were still converting to C-5, lots of beat up old A-models, about 50% termed MC. We were tasked with generating all available planes, by the next evening at 1am, I left with the last of 12 on the ramp. Peacetime v. wartime.


I’m sure your aware about AFRC’s full time MX slot issues? It’s really been festering for the last few years, and they haven’t admitted it yet. Folks have been flocking away for awhile now, and from what I’ve seen, the pipeline from active duty hasn’t been what it used to be.
 
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:54 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Lots of numbers, there’s some truth, some politics. Aug 1990, we were still converting to C-5, lots of beat up old A-models, about 50% termed MC. We were tasked with generating all available planes, by the next evening at 1am, I left with the last of 12 on the ramp. Peacetime v. wartime.



I'm interested. And I believe what you wrote. But why would these numbers so universally decline? What's changed?

I understand you're telling us that a single number cannot capture the full complexity .. but when all the numbers changed in the same direction there is something actual is going on. And it's even true for planes like the B-1 and F-22, which were not the most engaged aircraft in the war in 2015 nor 2020.

Any conjecture about what's changed?


I suspect the military has responded to budget pressure the same as the commercial entities have. Reduce inventories and rely on just-in-time deliveries, with the inventory being maintained by the supplier. That model can work well with items that have high order volumes, but not for parts that are out of production, and for which manufacturers will wait for a sufficient order volume to commence a run.

Also the military can use training hours to soak up the downtime, which reduces their overall costs. With the assumption that this all can be scaled up rapidly again in wartime.

But it tends to surface in other ways, for example in an increase in mishap rates. So a balance has to be struck, with the realization that there is a floor in parts inventory and training requirements, that has to be funded as a priority.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Sat Jun 18, 2022 10:57 pm

Buckeyetech wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Lots of numbers, there’s some truth, some politics. Aug 1990, we were still converting to C-5, lots of beat up old A-models, about 50% termed MC. We were tasked with generating all available planes, by the next evening at 1am, I left with the last of 12 on the ramp. Peacetime v. wartime.


I’m sure your aware about AFRC’s full time MX slot issues? It’s really been festering for the last few years, and they haven’t admitted it yet. Folks have been flocking away for awhile now, and from what I’ve seen, the pipeline from active duty hasn’t been what it used to be.


Actually, no, I’m not aware, as no longer a serving officer.

Well, yes,if all the combat types are also showing declines a bit more worrying as they typically have priority in budgets. They’re all getting old, so that’s a factor. Out of production planes are hard to support and it amazes me they can keep any B-1s MC.

I was writing from experience, when the balloon goes up, planes are readied, not pretty, maybe, but they fly.
 
bpatus297
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Re: US aircraft readiness rates in multi-year decline

Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:50 am

kitplane01 wrote:
bpatus297 wrote:
I know we live in a different world, but I still find it strange these numbers are so easy to obtain. Imagine what the USSR would have done to try to get this information 40 or so years ago.


Democracy means informing voters.

Now try and get these numbers from the Luftwaffe or the RAF.

I'm glad we have a more open government.


I agree, but I also understand that certain things need to be kept secret. The problem is that a lot of folks in the Gov slap the classified tag on stuff that is either politically damaging or embarrassing. There isn't a whole lot of oversite for what is classified and what is not.

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