Paper tiger?

| October 4, 2023

Yes, we have the most advanced military in the world. If it works, that is. Remember the new catapults on our latest and greatest aircraft carrier, the Gerald Ford? The ship started construction in 2009, launched in 2017 – and finally became mission capable in 2022. Remember how many ships launched in WWII – which lasted 1/3 as long as the Ford’s launch build? CNN

Then we have the current destroyer refit. Supposedly by throwing $150-175,000,000 per hull at them, their service life could be extended and they could stay on the forefront of our forces for at least another decade. The Vicksburg, first launched in 1991, is one even the Navy is tired of supporting and wants to retire:

For more than six years, the USS Vicksburg has sat idle at a shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, undergoing repairs that have cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet the 567-foot guided-missile cruiser might never return to sea. The USS Vicksburg is one of 11 vessels that the Navy is seeking to retire but members of Congress may not let it.

Now we get to the part long-term readers will recognize: see what Diana Maurer, the director of defense capabilities and management for the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, says.

Maurer’s office released a report this year that found the Navy is spending more money repairing its warships while its vessels are spending less time at sea. From 2011 through 2020, operating and support costs across 10 ship classes grew by $2.5 billion, or 17%. That included a $1.2 billion increase in maintenance costs – a 24% jump, according to the GAO report.

Maurer said the rising maintenance costs are due in part to the Navy’s having put off the upkeep of the ships when they were involved in combat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How many folks here remember TAH  reader complaints about deferred maintenance,  and that the bill would come due?

At a House Appropriations Committee hearing last year, Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, said that the Navy had awarded $500 million in contracts to update the Vicksburg.   NBC News

Have to suspect a new ship would cost around that…  Could be worse. The submarine USS Boise has been in repairs for eight years.

Now to the overpriced Edsel, the beloved F-35:

Maintenance challenges have had a negative effect on US services’ F-35 readiness, according to a report published by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The paper highlighted that the fifth-generation fighter fleet mission capable rate was about 55% in March 2023, far below programme goals. When assessed in the same period, the programme was also said to be behind schedule in establishing depot maintenance activities to conduct repairs, resulting in longer ‘component repair times, with more than 10,000 waiting to be repaired’.

A lack of spare parts and technical data, poor training of maintainers, and a lagging effort to expand repair depots are dragging down the U.S. military’s ability to keep the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the air, a government watchdog said in a report released Thursday.

But the F-35?s availability has lagged for years, and if a war broke out today, many fighters would be unavailable to fight. In March 2023, GAO said, the mission-capable rate for all F-35s was at 55%. That’s well below the 70% mission-capable goal the Air Force has for its F-35As, and the 75% goal for the Navy and Marine Corps’ F-35B and F-35C variants.

The backlog of broken spare parts that need fixed has more than doubled since spring 2019, GAO said, from 4,300 to more than 10,000.

It now takes an average of 141 days to repair a broken spare part — far above the F-35 program’s goal of 60 days — and nearly three-quarters of those parts are sent back to the original equipment manufacturer for repair.

Defense News

Sounds to me like Lockheed Martin needs their feet held to the fire.

Category: Air Force, Navy

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I will admit the Gerald Ford is no Kizznetsov with its built-in stealth capabilities of being able to hide itself in smoke clouds.


The smoke screen capability was a happy by-product of using Lada tire carcasses as a fuel source.

RGR 4-78

Reuse, reduce. recycle.

USMC Steve

We should show this photo to little Greta Thunberg. She would bust a blood vessel for sure. Wonder why she has not gone to Russia yet to tell them to stop making CO2?

jeff LPH 3 63-66

That’s the BT’s blowing the boiler tubes….


Its just money?

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Looks like davis monthan?

Old tanker

It is. Thing is that every mechanical item has a service life. Most extend well beyond the factory production time. As a result we have vehicles that “time out” but still have lots of serviceable parts, hence the bone yard there.


Some are also Brand-New but not wanted, the AF scraped brand new C-27s.

OIP (58).jpg
President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

In today’s LGBT+ society, being a “hanger queen” is no longer a bad thing.


That’s the price of wanting higher and higher capability – higher and higher complexity. The more complex something is, the harder it is to build. Seems obvious, but it sounds like it needs to be said. Even as complex as the B-29 was, any single component probably wasn’t so complex it would take years to make. I by parts for a 50 year old rocket launcher system. There are control boxes that take more than a year to make because of the circuit card assemblies that need to be put together. lead times for even cables and grounding straps can be almost a year+ because of one subcomponent. Now imagine what something super high tech like the elctro catapult things or an F-35 has for its component lead times. It’s the cost of doing business – when the business you want is super complicated. If people want things to be built cheaply and quickly, then I guess we are going to need to set our eyes on something less than the most high-tech in the world.

Think congress, the military or the American people are going to sign up for that? Just askin’. . . . .


Congress. That’s why we can’t have nice things.


In a war over 45 days with a near peer rival, ALL these high tech weapons will either be junk or expended/destroyed.

Low tech, robust, easy to fix, low logistical footprint will be the wespons that will fight that war.


Low tech seemed to work for middle eastern goat herders for 20 or so years. Longer if you count Russian involvement.


Low tech works, but it is very expensive. With the US involvement there were 110,000 dead in Afghanistan versus 3,500 US and nato. When you value a life as a dozen goats and three donkeys a loss ratio of 34 to 1 is acceptable.


Yeah, but the Taliban is back in charge so our model clearly doesn’t work against an opponent who doesn’t place the same value on an individual human life as we do.


That is correct, it never did


Just ask the North Vietnamese.


As they say, “We love death more than you love life.”

USMC Steve

Probably because they live like savages and have absolutely shitty lives in the first place.

AT1 ret

But the service has $ for addadicktome surgery.


Yes, we have the most advanced military in the world.

But also the government with that military at its beck and call almost all died when a guy with horns sat on the throne.

Maurer said the rising maintenance costs are due in part to the Navy’s having put off the upkeep of the ships when they were involved in combat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now I’m no mapologist, but ain’t one of them landlocked?

I blame the public school system,… always.

Next conflict we are going to get our shit pushed so let’s hope the leadership changes drastically to better reflect the complexities of.. KIDDING! Them/They can eabod.

Pain is coming in all things.

“Prepare.” –CO, FB Magnolia


Between GW1, Operation Southern Watch, OIF, and OEF, we’ve had at least one Carrier Strike Group in the Gulf for the past 33+ years.

The constant mobilization/rotation does provide quite a bit of wear and tear on the ships.


“at least one Carrier Strike Group”

Each of which usually has one cruiser attached.


A successful provision/escort duty run today netted several hundred $s worth of consumables with a sell by date out to ’25 and ’27. A special promotion on “paper products” and cleaning supplies netted a 50% savings on those items. Chewy, MPS, and SGA boxes were stashed by the Ms Thang UPS Driver when I got back. Weak link is still the meds…working on that. I’m gonna miss Little Debbie’s…and ice cream. I hope and pray that I’m wrong and things don’t go totally to sh^t, but…as we all know…hope and prayer ain’t no true battle plan.

We got a lot of pigs wearing lipstick. What we need is more Wart Hogs, BUFFs, and Raptors…and less “foreign aid” going to people that basically hate us. Let ’em hate us for free.

Green Thumb

All-Points Logistics has been doing this for years.


The Elephant In The Room…


“Nancy Pelosi Evicted From Her Private Office In The Capitol By Interim House Speaker”


It will be cleansed!

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Nailed It!


Dennis - not chevy

Mil-specs are the mothers of cost overruns and long lead times for parts. I remember the farm tractors the USAF bought for towing equipment. They couldn’t buy regular farm tractors; they were mil-spec’d to include special bell cranks and differentials – it took months to get the parts while the civilian models parts were on the shelf at every farm equipment shop in the country.

Who else remembers when the USAF went to brown-greenish T shirt to be worn with fatigues? Remember how the concerned the big shots were when the young troops’ acne medicines turn the shirts orange.

I remember when the lead-time for computers was 18 months. I had $100K’s worth of training equipment at the tech school that couldn’t be used because the computers that ran them were needed elsewhere. I asked if new computers, such as the ones that one might buy for their kids, could be purchased at a local store since the computers didn’t need to be big or fancy. The training plans would have to be re-written and recertified since the equipment we normally used was not available. The rewriting of the courses would have taken 2 years. I further argued since my unit was the only doing the training that mil-specs need not apply. The purchase of new computers was initially turned down because the computers didn’t meet mil-specs. Finally, some General at the puzzle palace agreed with me and the computers were purchased.

The point is, some times good enough is good enough.

Prior Service

It’s not just complex parts that take time. At one point, I had an M88 recovery vehicle down for almost a year because we couldn’t get a torsion bar. (Basically a long metal bar.) The army was simply out of them and wouldn’t order more until needed.


Which one did you need?:

2510-00-703-5899 (Right)
2510-00-703-5900 (Left)

Prior Service



Thanks. Those torsion bars gave me the opportunity to have a flash-back to 50 years ago when I was a PLL Clerk./s

Dennis - not chevy

I liked this guy and so did all of the other wrench benders in vehicle maintenance. He was a Colonel in the USAF assigned to the same base I was. He had a staff car manufactured by the Any Manufacturer’s Component Company. The General and all of the other Colonels had LTD’s. The LTD’s were being replaced due to age and high mileage. The one Colonel I liked said he was keeping his Rambler; he did most of his own driving, the seat fit him just right, end of discussion. I was in charge of maintenance QC; my bosses leaned on me to find enough wrong with it to condemn the thing. I couldn’t do it; if the Colonel liked the car he could keep it as far as I was concerned. It wasn’t a hill I was going to die on.

As for parts, since it was an AMC, there were no problems.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

We had a Nash Rambler dealership in our neighborhood.


My father had a thing for Nash cars until they became Rambler, which he continued to buy until they went out of business. .


put off the upkeep of the ships when they were involved in combat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Pardon my skepticism.


If you only knew how hard it is on the fleet to sail in Afghanistan. Sure the carriers were fine, but It literally killed litoral combat ships.