Monday, November 19, 2007

Things could be worse, USAF edition

As most of you know, the USAF is facing a severe budget crunch in order to replace our aging aircraft and infrastructure. Things could be worse though. At least we're not Canada:

EDMONTON -- Canada's air force is trying to replace aging members, aging infrastructure and aging vehicles, its commander says.

"The main challenge I have is age, but not my age," Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt, the chief of air staff with the Canadian Forces, said in an interview Wednesday.

"We have a relatively old workforce in the air force," he said.

The average age of the force is 36, with non-commissioned officers at 37 and officers at 38 years old.

"We are a young person's business, so it is a challenge for me to recruit enough young people to keep rejuvenating the ranks to keep that average age coming down," he said.

Watt was in Edmonton as the keynote speaker at the closing banquet of an aviation trade show.

The air force, which currently has about 350 members in Afghanistan providing mostly transport duties, is also struggling to maintain its aging facilities such as hangars, control towers and runways.

"I have 13 wings, 10 of which have infrastructure and the replacement cost of that infrastructure is $6.5 billion," he said. "Fifty per cent of that infrastructure is 50 years old or older."

Canada's military aircraft are also feeling the strain of the years.

"The average age of the aircraft that I operate is 26 years," he said. "They are extremely well maintained, they are always safe but old technology comes with a price and the price gets higher because every year that passes it gets another year older."

At least we've got young people. How's the song go, 2 outta 3 ain't bad? Hey Canada, if it becomes too much of an issue, though, you can always just do what the USAF has done and fire all your old people.

h/t: Alert 5