Factors Limiting the Availability of F-15 Aircraft at the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing

PLRD-82-83: Published: Jun 7, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 7, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the availability of the Air Force's F-15 aircraft assigned to the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW), Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Specifically, GAO was asked to identify and analyze the factors affecting the peacetime readiness of aircraft at TFW.

GAO found that the major problems affecting aircraft availability were the maintenance and absence of parts. Regarding maintenance, the review showed that: (1) although the number of assigned maintenance personnel at TFW slightly exceeded its authorization, there was a shortage of skilled, experienced people in certain key maintenance career fields because of Air Force-wide shortages of these skills; (2) some high paygrade enlisted personnel, assigned as maintenance supervisors, had no prior F-15 experience; (3) maintenance personnel service more aircraft than authorized during peacetime, and many assigned aircraft mechanics were not working on direct aircraft maintenance because of leave, training, and temporary assignment to other jobs; and (4) low availability of computerized test equipment and the placement of good components in the repair pipeline slowed component repair time and contributed to the shortage of parts. Regarding the absence of parts, GAO found no significant defects in the Air Force supply system or imbalances in aircraft spares available. The parts were not available primarily due to unpredictable circumstances inherent in the supply system, such as lower than expected reliability of parts, problems with vendors, and modification of items. To a small degree, problems occurred within the Air Force logistics system.

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