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Flaws may ground older F15's indefinitely
Washington Post via MSNBC ^ | December 22 2007 | Josh White

Posted on 12/22/2007 4:21:30 AM PST by xsrdx

Air Force inspectors have discovered major structural flaws in eight older-model F-15 fighters, sparking a new round of examinations that could ground all of the older jets into January or beyond, senior Air Force and defense officials said.

The Air Force's 442 F-15A through F-15D planes, the mainstay of the nation's air-to-air combat force for 30 years, have been grounded since November, shortly after one of the airplanes broke into large chunks and crashed in rural Missouri. Since then, Air Force officials have found cracks in the main support beams behind the cockpits of eight other F-15s, and they fear that similar problems could exist in others.

Current and former Air Force officials said that the grounding of the F-15s -- on average 25 years old -- is the longest that U.S. fighter jets have ever been kept out of the air. Even if the jets are cleared for flight, they add, it could take six months to get the pilots and aircraft back to their normal status.

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; airforce; eagle; f15; f22; usaf
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Unfortunate news for backbone of US Air Superiority /Supremacy fleet...

And no doubt expensive to fix.

1 posted on 12/22/2007 4:21:31 AM PST by xsrdx
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To: xsrdx

Duct tape, lots and lots of it.


2 posted on 12/22/2007 4:28:05 AM PST by driftdiver
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To: xsrdx

Whats everyones opinion of the possibility the AF brass is making a bigger dal out of this to get more F22’s.?

Fox did a report on it and I can believe it to some extent...like the kid who tells his dad his bike is broken to get the newest one....


3 posted on 12/22/2007 4:32:30 AM PST by conservativehusker (GO BIG RED!!!!)
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To: conservativehusker

The article gets into that, and I think there is a history of military brass doing such things.


4 posted on 12/22/2007 4:42:05 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: xsrdx

They don’t want to fix it they want new toys to break.


5 posted on 12/22/2007 4:52:59 AM PST by omega4179 (Bring me the broomstick of the wicked witch of the west.)
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To: xsrdx; Paleo Conservative

Ouch/ping.


6 posted on 12/22/2007 4:55:43 AM PST by steveegg (I am John Doe, and a monthly donor)
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To: xsrdx
The grounded fighter jets do not include 224 F-15Es, which have been inspected and cleared.
The E models, used to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are about 10 years younger and have a more robust frame.

If the frame of my automobile was in serious structural condition, I would not repair, it's just time for a new car!

7 posted on 12/22/2007 4:58:31 AM PST by Las Vegas Dave ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." Hillary Clinton, June 2004.)
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To: Moonman62

They quote a guy from the Center for Defense Information, that is opposed to the F-22, that they should just “fix it” as if it were a simple matter.

To which I would make two points. 1. “Fixing” a major structural failure in a 30 year old air frame that has been subjected to extreme loads is not a trivial undertaking and 2, I am not aware of any major defense procurement program the CDI has ever supported. Maybe there is one, but I don’t know about it. Can anybody fill in on that?


8 posted on 12/22/2007 5:02:33 AM PST by Buckhead
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To: xsrdx
I remember in flight refueling them in 1976, so they are aging.
9 posted on 12/22/2007 5:03:20 AM PST by boomop1
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To: Las Vegas Dave

Pennypinching across the board is the problem, here. These planes are WAY BEYOND their intended service life.


10 posted on 12/22/2007 5:05:08 AM PST by Flintlock
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To: Las Vegas Dave

I agree....

Get new planes.

People and the MSM can cry all they want, but these birds have exceeded their structural lifetimes.

Its a shame that the industrial/military complex has created a situation where their every move is suspicious....and we let that happen.

But the reality is, the F22 took too long to develop and cost way too much....the Air Force can hold the blame for that.

But the big question is-—

Can these aircraft be repaired?

Maybe....maybe not.


11 posted on 12/22/2007 5:06:30 AM PST by Halgr (Once a Marine, always a Marine - Semper Fi)
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To: Buckhead

I wonder if they can build new F15’s.


12 posted on 12/22/2007 5:12:10 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Las Vegas Dave

The other issue with the E model is that it is limited to 6.5 Gs due to its large fuel tanks and attack mission. Less G’s equal longer life.


13 posted on 12/22/2007 5:39:45 AM PST by SampleMan (We are a free and industrious people. Socialist nannies do not become us.)
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To: SampleMan
The other issue with the E model is that it is limited to 6.5 Gs due to its large fuel tanks and attack mission. Less G’s equal longer life.

Good point, cuz even the Strike Eagles are getting a bit old...
;-)

I try not to be sentimental about such things, but it seems to me that the F-15 is one heck of a great plane...and even as good as the F-22 is, would 200 of them equal the 450 F-15s being pulled (Lanchester's Square Law and all)? Plus, technological superiority or not, it means narrower deployment if we have fewer airframes out there--fewer pilots, too.

14 posted on 12/22/2007 5:51:32 AM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: Las Vegas Dave

“If the frame of my automobile was in serious structural condition, I would not repair, it’s just time for a new car!”

Ok, I’ll sell you a brand new one for $100M

Now what do you say?


15 posted on 12/22/2007 6:00:33 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: xsrdx

A long time ago, I used to build the Intergrated Circuits for the guidance systems of these.


16 posted on 12/22/2007 6:03:11 AM PST by LiveFreeOrDie2001 (Check out ---->> www.eaglebrookchurch.com <<----)
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To: boomop1

Yep.....refueled MANY of ‘em back in my day, too. Funny how even after all these years, I still think of the F-15 as a ‘newer’ fighter...LOL!


17 posted on 12/22/2007 6:04:07 AM PST by RightOnline
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To: conservativehusker

First thing that occurred to me. With F-22s just going into production, need to throw the old ones out and just up the quantity of the new gold plated ones.

I say replace them all with drones ...


18 posted on 12/22/2007 6:05:27 AM PST by Tarpon
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To: xsrdx

19 posted on 12/22/2007 6:08:36 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Moonman62
I wonder if they can build new F15’s.

They have never stopped. The F-15K is still being built. A good question would be to look at a new production model incorporating the F-22 systems, engines and maneuverable thrust. It would likely come out superior to the SU-30 and Eurofighter. It still wouldn't be the F-22, but it could be much more affordable, and add more strike capability to boot.

20 posted on 12/22/2007 6:12:21 AM PST by SampleMan (We are a free and industrious people. Socialist nannies do not become us.)
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To: xsrdx

21 posted on 12/22/2007 6:18:51 AM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: xsrdx

There is a lot of ignorance in the posts. Any part on a plane can be replaced. They rebuild ford trimotors, dc-3s, and other antique planes all the time and we replaced most of the wing spars on the A-10s in recent years due to hi-g


22 posted on 12/22/2007 6:26:21 AM PST by omega4179 (Bring me the broomstick of the wicked witch of the west.)
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To: omega4179
There is a lot of ignorance in the posts. Any part on a plane can be replaced. They rebuild ford trimotors, dc-3s, and other antique planes all the time and we replaced most of the wing spars on the A-10s in recent years due to hi-g

Yeah, but what about all the underlying spars and truss that forms the g-loaded backbone of the plane? You can't just "swap" that out!

The F-22 is atrociously expensive, but the F-15 has been operated WAY beyond its design life, and I'm not surprised at all that it is showing fatigue problems.

23 posted on 12/22/2007 6:40:53 AM PST by Yossarian (Everyday, somewhere on the globe, somebody is pushing the frontier of stupidity...)
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To: omega4179
They don’t want to fix it they want new toys to break.

Those "new toys" are over in the Middle East being played with by brave men/women so that you can make idiotic remarks like that.

24 posted on 12/22/2007 6:44:11 AM PST by Don Corleone (Leave the gun..take the cannoli)
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To: xsrdx

Remember that these are planes designed to fight the Cold War, which ended in 1989. We don’t need them anymore because there is no current threat to America from the defunct Soviet Union. All we need are just a handful of WWII commemorative aircraft to defend the continent. We are safely sheltered by the oceans on either side of us.

(scarcasm off)


25 posted on 12/22/2007 6:51:40 AM PST by GreyFriar ( 3rd Armored Division - Spearhead)
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To: RightOnline

They never appear to get old, even the old Tanker looks good with those nice engines I wish we had way back then.


26 posted on 12/22/2007 6:54:11 AM PST by boomop1
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To: Yossarian
There is a lot of ignorance in the posts. Any part on a plane can be replaced. They rebuild ford trimotors, dc-3s, and other antique planes all the time and we replaced most of the wing spars on the A-10s in recent years due to hi-g

Yeah, but what about all the underlying spars and truss that forms the g-loaded backbone of the plane? You can't just "swap" that out!


I've learned that ANYTHING can be repaired. It becomes a matter of whether it's economic to do so.

Having been an engineer at McDonnell Aircraft (working on the F-15) in a past life, I can tell you that the repairs can be done, but it will be MAJOR surgery to do it.
27 posted on 12/22/2007 6:58:51 AM PST by BikerJoe
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To: RightOnline
I refueled them in the testing phase, I got grounded after 12 years hearing lose. In 77 was PMEL Lab Chief then retired at Dover when I got orders to go to Shymia Ak.
28 posted on 12/22/2007 7:00:07 AM PST by boomop1
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To: xsrdx

Its time to build more F 22s. They are expensive but losing air superiority to a potential enemy would be “expensive” also.


29 posted on 12/22/2007 7:01:28 AM PST by darkmatter ("Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster" William T. Sherman)
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To: conservativehusker
Considering how tough the Eagle is.

Built to fight where others fear to fly.

30 posted on 12/22/2007 7:03:50 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
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To: omega4179
There is a lot of ignorance in the posts. Any part on a plane can be replaced. They rebuild ford trimotors, dc-3s, and other antique planes all the time and we replaced most of the wing spars on the A-10s in recent years due to hi-g

Yet some parts are far more expensive to replace than others. You can also theoretically replace the keel of a ship, but its no simply matter.

31 posted on 12/22/2007 7:04:05 AM PST by SampleMan (We are a free and industrious people. Socialist nannies do not become us.)
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To: omega4179
How much do you want to spend on replacing parts is the question. Do you want to put a new motor and tranny into you 15 years old Chrysler mini van?
32 posted on 12/22/2007 7:05:29 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
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To: Eye of Unk
Since I am certain that the 270 hours per year has been exceeded. They did not miss the projection by much.
33 posted on 12/22/2007 7:06:44 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
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To: BikerJoe; All

How long are the airframes on these fighters (F15 and F16) designed to last? Does anybody know?


34 posted on 12/22/2007 7:07:42 AM PST by darkmatter ("Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster" William T. Sherman)
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To: mad_as_he$$
Race for pinks?
35 posted on 12/22/2007 7:09:12 AM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: Eye of Unk
lol perfect!!!! Wow it is even chopped!
36 posted on 12/22/2007 7:11:31 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
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To: Moonman62
F-15s are based upon 40-year old technology designed to counter the MiG-25 (which turned out to be an interceptor and not an air superiority fighter), so there's no point in building news ones, which are really obsolete. Kinda like building new 1976 year Cadillacs, if you get my drift.

Ever since 9/11, the USAF has really been in an ever increasing budget fix, with funding being siphoned away for the Army and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. The service has lost over 40,000 personnel in recent years, and I'm sure that inspections, maintenance, and upgrades are being short-changed. The recent story at Minot about a serious breach in nuclear weapons handling and security no doubt has its origins in the budget and manpower crisis facing the USAF today.

But to get back to the F-15s A-D, their air frames are just wore out after 30 years of high G flying, and the entire fleet needs to be retired and replaced with F-22s. Pretty soon, I imagine, we'll be hearing similar airframe structural failures in F-16s, which entered service about 1979. Consequently, I don't think that the USAF generals are crying wolf this time around.

37 posted on 12/22/2007 7:11:50 AM PST by Virginia Ridgerunner (“We must not forget that there is a war on and our troops are in the thick of it!” --Duncan Hunter)
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To: mad_as_he$$
It really depends on how BIG the engine is.
38 posted on 12/22/2007 7:12:16 AM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: Halgr
Can these aircraft be repaired? Maybe....maybe not.

There is no question that they CAN be repaired! The question is..., at what cost and will it be worthwhile when amortized over the remaining service life of the aircraft!

39 posted on 12/22/2007 7:12:26 AM PST by ExSES (the "bottom-line")
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To: darkmatter
See post #21 with the specifications, estimates and graphs.

The authors cited know far better than I about such things. My personal knowledge extends to: ...they didn't tend to come apart on first flight :-)
40 posted on 12/22/2007 7:13:53 AM PST by BikerJoe
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To: mad_as_he$$

Holy cr#p. One wing... you couldn’t put that in a movie and make it believable. That pilot has got stones. I can’t even imagine. I get ginchy when I hear “funny noises” on choppers and planes.


41 posted on 12/22/2007 7:16:46 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: BikerJoe
"Having been an engineer at McDonnell Aircraft (working on the F-15) in a past life, I can tell you that the repairs can be done, but it will be MAJOR surgery to do it."

Put it out on competative bid, and allow CHINA to bid on it. It would be done at 1/4th the cost of having a US contractor do it.

Of course, the Chinese AF would have a new fighter in a few years that would look real similar to the F15. Clintoon II will make it happen.
42 posted on 12/22/2007 7:17:35 AM PST by wrench
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To: Eye of Unk
How did you know that that is my all time unfavorite vehicle? I have bought several over the years and had them crushed to remove the parts from circulation. That one has what a nitro hemi?
43 posted on 12/22/2007 7:18:06 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
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To: Dick Vomer

Very amazing story. I love that aircraft. Very skilled pilot and the rear seater should kiss him and by him dinner.


44 posted on 12/22/2007 7:19:32 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ ("Has there been a code nine? Have you heard from the Doctor?")
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To: mad_as_he$$

http://www.hotrod.com/featuredvehicles/hdrp_0603_1962_vw_bus/index.html

1962 Volkswagen Bus - Riding with the King of Chop
Ken Prather’s Eye-Grabbing 1962 VW Drag-Style Bus is One Unique andStunning Machine


45 posted on 12/22/2007 7:22:35 AM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: mad_as_he$$
355 small block Chevy with blower.
46 posted on 12/22/2007 7:25:16 AM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: conservativehusker
I would disagree. The crash in Missouri was linked to structural failure.

Metal fatigue has been a subject for jets for almost 50 years -- there is an ol' Jimmy Stewart film with Marlene Dietrich about this subject (it is the center of the plot of the movie).

The F-15's have a titanium frame. I imagine that since this is a high performance jet, 30 years of service is too much for the original structure.

If the jet was built totally out of titanium, it might not have this problem (the SR-71 is supposedly an aircraft that is made substantially of titanium, for example).

High performance jets can stress their airframes...

47 posted on 12/22/2007 7:29:58 AM PST by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: mad_as_he$$
"How much do you want to spend on replacing parts is the question. Do you want to put a new motor and tranny into you 15 years old Chrysler mini van?"

Only if when replaced would do Mach 2.... Now that would be a minivan!

48 posted on 12/22/2007 7:34:52 AM PST by nevergore ("It could be that the purpose of my life is simply to serve as a warning to others.")
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To: Halgr; Las Vegas Dave; xsrdx; steveegg
But the reality is, the F22 took too long to develop and cost way too much....the Air Force can hold the blame for that.

But a lot of the F-22 capabilities except for the flight envleope and stealth could be put into F-15's. Just look at how the Russians have updated their MiG-29 with vectored thrust engines and improved avionics to created the MiG-35. It wouldn't have been any cheaper to develop those technologies, but they wouldn't have lumped all into the F-22 program.

49 posted on 12/22/2007 7:35:48 AM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: xsrdx
The critics of the F-22 based their argument, in part, that the F-15 is adequate against known threats and will last for 20 more years.

Oops!

50 posted on 12/22/2007 7:38:14 AM PST by pfflier
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