Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cradle To Grave, Air Force Style

Would you buy a new car and, once you get it home, lock it up in your garage and never drive it?

Of course not.

But that's what the Air Force is doing with its new cargo planes.

New Air Force cargo planes fly straight into mothballs
The Pentagon is sending $50 million cargo planes straight from the assembly line to mothballs because it has no use for them, yet it still hasn’t stopped ordering the aircraft, according to a report.

A dozen nearly new Italian-built C-27J Spartans...
Italian-built?!? Whatever happened to the American military buying American-made aircraft from an American company? I know I'm out of touch with military purchasing procedures, and I can see the conflict between being a good steward of taxpayer dollars vs. supporting our national economy and jobs, but still ... Italian-built?!?
... have been shipped to an Air Force facility in Arizona dubbed “the boneyard,” and five more currently under construction are likely headed for the same fate, according to an investigation by the Dayton Daily News.  The Air Force has spent $567 million on 21 of the planes since 2007, according to purchasing officials at Dayton’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Of those, 16 have been delivered – with almost all sent directly to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson...
 a.k.a. "The Boneyard." Or, in Air Force speak, "recoverable storage."
Local politics appear to have played a role in the planes continued manufacture...
Politics played a role?!? I'm shocked! Shocked, I say!!!
... Ohio's senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, were both defenders of the C-27J when 800 jobs and a mission at Mansfield Air National Guard Base depended on it. Brown urged the military in a 2011 letter to purchase up to 42 of the aircraft, saying too few planes "will weaken our national and homeland defense."
$567 million spent in order to preserve 800 jobs. If you do the math that works out to over $7 million per job. Is that the going rate to buy votes in Ohio?

Not to mention the example it sets for others. Spend money that's not yours to improve your political standing.

That's a lesson the politicians have learned all too well...

The C-27J. Note that this one belongs to the Lithuanian Air Force. (The C-27J has been sold to numerous air forces around the world.)

For those of you interested in the backstory behind the C-27J more information can be found here.


Old NFO said...

It's actually CHEAPER to buy them and boneyard them than to pay the cancellation fees and penalties... sigh... Gotta LOVE Fed contracting!

CenTexTim said...

It is amazing how the fed contracting process works - especially when purchasing an aircraft that the military seems to be ambivalent about at best.

Thank goodness politics plays no part in the process [/end sarc]

Old NFO said...

Heh... yeah... Actually the C-29s are for the reserves, to give them something to fly since they don't have enough C-130s to go around and the C-29 can do short haul/rough strip work they don't want to 'waste' a C-130 or C-17 doing.

True Story-

The C-17s actually WON'T land at MCAS Kaneohe, because the runway is volcanic rock and gets their tires dirty... They just come over and shoot low approaches and tie up the pattern... sigh...

CenTexTim said...

Jeez - if they ever get into a combat situation I hope it's somewhere nice and clean.