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Author Topic: USAF F-15s May Get Service Life Extension  (Read 4514 times)

Offline tigershark

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USAF F-15s May Get Service Life Extension
« on: May 28, 2009, 04:47:51 PM »
USAF F-15s May Get Service Life Extension
May 26, 2009
By Amy Butler

The U.S. Air Force is conducting fatigue tests on F-15C/D/Es to assess whether the aircraft are suitable for a service life extension program (SLEP).

The fleet is expected to be good for about 8,000 flying hours, and Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, military deputy for the Air Force acquisition czar, says a SLEP could take them to 12,000 flying hours. The service is also exploring a SLEP for the F-16, which would take the aircraft from 4,000 flying hours to 8,000 flying hours.

Extending the lives of the legacy, fourth-generation fleet is a potentially attractive option as the Air Force faces a shortfall during the transition from F-16s and F-15s to new F-22s and F-35s.

This issue is near and dear to some lawmakers — including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) — who worry their Air National Guard units now operating F-16s or F-15s slated for retirement will dissipate without new fighters. There is a gap expected until the F-35 comes online. The Air Force is accelerating retirement of 250 fighters in fiscal 2010.

Giffords and other lawmakers grilled three Air Force generals May 20 during a House Armed Services airland subcommittee hearing about the transition plan from legacy to future fighters for the Guard. The officers said a plan is expected in November, after the Quadrennial Defense Review.

So far, the plans calls for two of 18 Air National Guard air sovereignty mission units will get F-22s, four will receive upgraded “Golden Eagles” and the remaining 12 are to be determined. Some are likely to get unmanned aerial vehicle missions, though some may lack new flying missions.



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