Sustaining Old F-15s Takes on New Urgency

The Macon Telegraph has it right that the Senate vote—and subsequent reaction—to kill a provision to build more F-22 Raptors than the Administration-prescribed 187 has “particular consequence” for the Air Force depot charged with sustaining the service’s legacy F-15 fighter force. The Air Force, with such a small F-22 fleet, will have to depend on the F-15 Eagle that the Raptor was to replace for a longer period of time. Currently, USAF is in the midst of trying to determine just what it is facing now and will be facing in the future as these fighters continue to age. There was some urgency expressed after an F-15C broke up in midair in late 2007 to conduct stress tests and to tear down an F-15 to see just what effect the years and prolonged high operational tempo have produced, and the Air Force is engaged in that project now. There’s also the matter of simply keeping the F-15 upgraded to meet current needs. Technicians at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, reports the Telegraph, are working on part of that right now developing a plan to replace wiring in most of the fighter. They expect to begin that work this fall. Other work will likely surface as the depot completes structural analysis of flight critical components.