Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Age is Just a State of Mind

When you consider the eagerness of the Air Force to dump the A-10 for being too old for today's environment, ponder this aircraft news:

The Air Force is bringing the B-52 Stratofortress, still the primary aircraft for targeted bombing, into the 21st century, most recently awarding Boeing a $46.7 million contract for upgraded network communications systems under the Combat Network Communication Technology (CONECT) program. ...

CONECT represents one of the most significant upgrades to the B-52 fleet, bringing the venerable bomber, the first versions of which date to the 1950s, into the digital age.

Oh, and in light of the Air Force allegation that the high cost of keeping the A-10 in service will harm the ability to put the F-35 into service, behold the replacement for our older strategic bombers!

The Air Force this year estimated the cost of the new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) to be $58.2 billion for the next 10 years, up from the previous year’s estimate of $33.1 billion.

Damn that ancient, super-expensive A-10!

UPDATE: And the Air Force Secretary did:

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James warned Congress today that its effort to stop the retirement of the A-10 Warthog and other aircraft could hurt the service’s modernization plans.

As Defense Industry Daily noted, that includes the new bomber ($58 billion just for design procurement--so far), the new aerial tanker ($35 billion for design and procurement), and the F-35 ($1 trillion over the life for design, purchase, and fielding costs ).

But projected savings of maybe a couple billion per year from retiring the A-10 to avoid the cost of keeping them in service is the money problem.

What, the new planes won't have decorative hood ornaments?