It will not be easy to repair the nine F-15s found to have cracked longerons, which have made them unsafe to fly. According to Air Combat Command, it takes 120 days to make one of the parts, which are usually considered good for the “life of the aircraft,” and because the airplanes can’t fly, a team from Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center has to go out to fix each one, wherever it may be. The fix takes 42 days, because much of the aircraft has to be disassembled to remove the old longeron and install a new one. A ballpark estimate to fix the problem is a minimum of $200,000 per airplane. WRALC is building 15 of the longerons, but it hasn’t been decided if all nine broken airplanes will be fixed. Some of them are nearly 30 years old, so USAF had planned to retire them soon, anyway.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.