I can’t count the number of times I see or hear “America has a spending problem” or some variation of that meme. I don’t always necessarily agree with that, but reading stories similar to the one about the C-27J Spartan gives me pause to contemplate changing my stance on the idea about us having a spending issue.
If you haven’t heard it yet, the Spartan is a brand new plane that’s being delivered to our Air Force to add to our airlift capability. The Spartans were first used by the US in Afghanistan and are being delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. If you’re unfamiliar with that particular base or unsure of which group is based there, then don’t fret. That’s where the “boneyard” is located. The Air Force stores planes there to use for parts and such. Each plane, however, can be brought back up to active flight status if necessary. It’s kinda like a huge storage chest in the middle of the desert.
Why would we have a brand new plane going into storage when there are other ways it could be used? Why are we ordering new airlift planes when we have many in storage in the desert in the first place? It seems like these are two of many questions that should have been considered at the time someone suggested we buy these planes.
Now that we own them, why don’t we put them to good use? As seen by the Yosemite fire in California, we need additional aircraft to help support wildfire suppression here in the US. Can these planes be retrofitted and put into service with the US Forestry group instead of letting them get a suntan in the Arizona desert? Can these planes be repainted and used to augment the Coast Guard’s current fleet? There was recent talk about how their ships were in need of replacement, so maybe they could get ahead of the curve on aircraft without us spending that money again down the road.
There has to be some way that we can utilize these planes that have already been purchased. There was a huge uproar over Solyndra because of the $500 million dollars given to them. We spent money in that same ballpark for planes that we’re not intending to fly, so why has there been no uproar over this?
- New Air Force Planes Go Directly to ‘Boneyard’ (military.com)
- New Air Force Planes Are Going Straight to the ‘Boneyard’ (businessinsider.com)