Warplanes: May 14, 2000


The average mission capable rate for all US Air Force aircraft is 71%, but this is expected to improve as the influx of money starting in 1998 refills empty spare parts bins. The B-2 bomber is supposed to have a mission capability rate of 60%, but has only 43% due to the need to fix every tiny flaw in the stealth covering. New instruments are being developed which can tell the maintenance crews which flaws in the coating must be fixed to keep the bomber invisible to radar and which can be ignored. This should improve the mission capability rate. Non-stealth parts of the aircraft (engines, hydraulics, avionics, etc.) have operated better than expected.--Stephen V Cole


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