Murphy's Law: March 5, 2002


The Afghan War has put a major strain on US military aviation. Accident rates are up (double for the Air Force, a 50 percent increase for the Navy and Marines) and aircraft are being worn out. The Air Force is using its C-17s so steadily that routine maintenance is being shorted and more serious work ignored. Navy carrier planes are being used at rates never intended for a single cruise. More than 300 individual aircraft will have to undergo service life extension programs earlier than they had been scheduled or budgeted. The stockpile of precision-guided weapons, already too small due to years of under-funding and the Kosovo War, has been depleted. (These were being used faster than they were being built during the first weeks of the war, a situation now reversed by lower use and higher production.) Specialist aircraft (EA-6B, EP-3E) are being worn out quickly as there are few of them but they are in constant demand.--Stephen V Cole


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