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Balladeer
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


0 posted 08-05-2009 11:48 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

House Orders Up Three Elite Jets
August 5, 2009

Last year, lawmakers excoriated the CEOs of the Big Three automakers for traveling to Washington, D.C., by private jet to attend a hearing about a possible bailout of their companies.

But apparently Congress is not philosophically averse to private air travel: At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.

The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet (price tag: about $65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service.

But the House Appropriations Committee, at its own initiative, added to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill another $132 million for two more airplanes and specified that they be assigned to the D.C.-area units that carry Members of Congress, military brass and top government officials.

Because the Appropriations Committee viewed the additional aircraft as an expansion of an existing Defense Department program, it did not treat the money for two more planes as an earmark, and the legislation does not disclose which Member had requested the additional money.
http://www.rollcall.com/media/37552-1.html

Does anyone see a problem with this?
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


1 posted 08-05-2009 02:40 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Yes.

I understand that they have to replace the jets currently in service that are scheduled for retirement, so buying three at a time definitely makes sense. I understand that there's an obvious and reasonable need for all three for security reasons.

What I don't understand is why they aren't getting a better discount?

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[This message has been edited by Grinch (08-05-2009 06:04 PM).]

Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


2 posted 08-06-2009 02:47 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

I've thought of another problem.

The air force has 95 fixed wing, commercially derived passenger aircraft. So why are they only buying three? At that rate the three they're proposing to buy this year will be 31.66 years old before they get replaced.

Why aren't they replacing more of the older c-20 Gulfstreams? They have 10 of those with an average service age of 19.8 years. Or what about the c-21 Learjets they have? They have 57 of those with an average service age of 23.7 years.

I understand that the air force has asked for an additional c-37 to increase it's current complement of 10 and the two extra that you mention are replacements for two old c-20's but wouldn't it make sense to replace a few more of the older aircraft at the same time? Surely there'd be economies of scale doing that and savings in service costs.

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Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


3 posted 08-07-2009 04:05 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


The more I think about it the more problems I see.

Apparently the US air force combat aircraft are even older than the commercially derived aircraft. There's one particular aircraft that's still in service that's 51 years old and isn't scheduled to be replaced for another 14 years. It seems that the US Government has, for the last 30 years, under spent as far as replacing aging aircraft goes. One statistic that is slightly worrying is that a majority of US pilots are flying around in aircraft that are older than they are.

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Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


4 posted 08-08-2009 11:36 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


More problems;
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2007/January/Pages/AgingAircraft2755.aspx

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