Challenges and Issues with the Further Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft

Policy Options for Effective Life-Cycle Management of Resources

by Jean R. Gebman

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Over the next 20 years, the further aging of already-old aircraft will introduce challenges and issues for aircraft operators, including the U.S. Air Force. This report identifies those challenges and issues and explores policy options for addressing them in ways that can contribute to effective life-cycle management of resources. The technical challenges relate to structures, propulsion, and systems. The institutional challenges include limitations on independent verification of fleet status and future condition, limitations on information needed for engineering analyses including risk assessment, and an overall scarcity of resources. The report uses a systems-engineering paradigm that breaks the set of challenges and issues down into their major elements and then analyzes how each element relates to values that are important to the customer. Such a value structure can help decisionmakers set resource-allocation policies and priorities.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Historical Developments Relevant to the Further Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft

  • Chapter Three

    Technical Challenges for Operators of Aging Aircraft

  • Chapter Four

    Institutional Challenges for Operators of Aging Aircraft

  • Chapter Five

    Issues and Policy Options for Effective Life-Cycle Management

  • Chapter Six

    Finding the Right Pathway for Implementing Preferred Policy Options

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions

  • Appendix

    Policy Options for Addressing Challenges and Issues

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The research in this report was prepared for the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR Force.

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