When Reality Sets In

Congress needs to “carefully monitor” the funds spent on service life extension programs, because “they alone are not fail-safe,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. For example, some of the service’s A-10Cs are experiencing fuselage cracks, despite “substantial” funds spent to re-wing these aircraft and upgrade their avionics packages, she told members of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel last week. In the case of legacy C-130H transports, it costs “roughly $6 million to $8 million” to replace the center wing box on one aircraft and another $18 million to modernize each aircraft’s avionics, she said. “At some point, the increasingly intensive maintenance will give way to reality that aircraft must be replaced with newer frames,” she asserted. She added, “There are times when the purchase of a new system would save taxpayer money in the long run.” (Eaglen prepared statement)