Friday, March 28, 2008

Sen. Graham on the Hollow Air Force

I've been pestering Senator Lindsey Graham, a USAF reservist and member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee, on the block aging of almost the entire complement of USAF aircraft. Below is his response via snail mail to yours truly:

"As the Air Force increases the duration and number of combat
missions, it is important we ensure that we can quickly replace worn out
materiel and spare parts. The 2009 Department of Defense (DoD) budget request by
the President includes $35.9 billion for the Air Force for Operation and
Maintenance. I am pleased the budget request includes $12.68 billion in
additional funding for procurement of new aircraft. For example, the request
includes $3.61 billion for 20 F-22A aircraft and $1.67 billion for 8 F-35
aircraft. Although I am pleased by this funding increase, I understand your
concerns as to the type of aircraft we are purchasing..."

Recently, you may recall, the USAF grounded over 400 of its frontline and over-worked F-15 fighters because of advanced aging. A total of 28 new fighters, however their advanced new stealth and abilities to combat future air defense threats, hardly begins to replace so many tried and true warplanes, not to mention the 1000+ F-16s which themselves are at an advanced stage of wear and tear. His last statement "I understand your concerns as to the type of aircraft we are purchasing" appears to me that even the Senator realizes his arguments for a handful of superfighters to supersede our mighty and tested aerial armada, are rather weak.