A Survey of Aircraft Structural-Life Management Programs in the U.S. Navy, the Canadian Forces, and the U.S. Air Force

by Yool Kim, Stephen Sheehy, Darryl Lenhardt


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The U.S. Air Force owns and operates some 6,000 aircraft, with an average age of 22 years. Many of the older aircraft are facing aging issues. Since 1958, the Air Force has relied on its Aircraft Structural Integrity Program to maintain the safety of its aircraft throughout their service lives. In recent years, concerns have arisen about the aging force, budget pressures, diminishing program regulation, and communication challenges. The authors have addressed these concerns by comparing the Air Force program with its peers in the U.S. Navy and Canadian Forces, seeking insights that might help the Air Force enhance its own program’s effectiveness. Some of these insights include the value of clarifying the program’s policies and extending and formalizing existing processes, providing independent compliance assessment, facilitating communications and close working relationships, and standardizing metrics and communications to improve the command’s understanding of the conditions of all its aircraft.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two


  • Chapter Three

    Aircraft Structural-Life Management in the U.S. Navy

  • Chapter Four

    Aircraft Structural-Life Management in the Canadian Forces

  • Chapter Five

    Aircraft Structural-Life Management in the U.S. Air Force

  • Chapter Six

    Observations About Aircraft Structural-Life Management Approaches

  • Chapter Seven

    Observations About Options for the Future

  • Appendix

    History of the Air Force ASIP

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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