In testimony Tuesday before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, Gen. John Corley, Vice Chief of Staff, continued to press the case Air Force leaders have hammered in repeated budget hearings—USAF aircraft have sustained excessive wear and tear over the last 16 years of continuous operations abroad. “We can expect to be engaged in this conflict and others for the foreseeable future—perhaps a decade or more,” said Corley, adding that the current state of the service’s air and space systems means “our future dominance is at risk.” Corley cited the C-130 as one example, saying the Hercules has seen unprecedented use—exceeding its programmed operating hours by 24,000 hours—to help get hundreds of convoys and thousands of service members off the roads in both Afghanistan and Iraq. “Some of our C-130Es can no longer deploy in combat because we have literally flown the wings off them,” said Corley.
Supply chain and vanishing vendor issues make supporting old nuclear systems increasingly difficult, Global Strike Command’s logistics and engineering chief Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell said. Additive printing will be a big help but can be hampered by bureaucracy.