Magazine article National Defense

Roche: Good Upkeep May Be Enough to Keep Air Force Flying

Magazine article National Defense

Roche: Good Upkeep May Be Enough to Keep Air Force Flying

Article excerpt

The Air Force will continue to struggle to keep the fleet in war-ready shape, despite advances in logistics and maintenance, said James Roche, outgoing Air Force secretary.

"We can get better at maintenance, but don't think the aging aircraft won't catch up with us at some point," Roche told a Defense Department conference prior to his resignation. "These aircraft will one day overwhelm maintainers."

Upgrading the fleet is critical to the U.S. national security, Roche noted, because many potential foes increasingly are taking advantage of available technology to bolster their air power.

Roche said that these "'a la carte" aircraft combine the best elements of various systems, such as a Russian warplane equipped with an Israeli jammer and a French fire control system. "Things you thought would help are attractors for enemy systems."

The design of new systems should concentrate on prevention and awareness of breakdown, Roche said, as well as the use of interchangeable parts among systems to facilitate repair.

"We don't need large overseas bases, permanently stationed forward," he added. …

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