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(NW Florida Daily News)   While Congress goes back and forth over how to solve the nation's financial problems, four specialized mechanics in Florida are quietly saving the Air Force millions each year   (nwfdailynews.com) divider line 15
    More: Spiffy, air forces, Air Force millions, air conditioning units, replacement costs  
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13043 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 May 2013 at 9:41 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-05-20 09:55:27 AM  
4 votes:
So... what you're saying is that the "throw it out and start over" mentality that saves time and money in the consumer electronics space, in fact  doesn't apply to highly durable, custom made or limited-production run military hardware?

Ehrmagerd!
2013-05-20 01:46:37 AM  
3 votes:
Someone was going to throw out $6000 worth of tools because the carrying case's lining needed to be replaced?
2013-05-20 10:36:38 AM  
2 votes:

NumberFiveIsAlive: My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder


This is true, and most of the specialized hardware is deliberately created in such a manner that it can't be replaced without going back to the contractor that had it made initially.

I had to build a computer system to mimic a military field unit.  We were able to obtain a motherboard with processor and RAM to build it.  The custom mobo was a few grand, but the only thing custom about it was the connection point for the processor and RAM.  It was otherwise just an ATX motherboard.  The custom CPU/RAM unit was about five grand.  It was an 800 MHz processor with 2 GB of RAM built into a special aluminum housing with a connection card in it.  The processor and RAM were standard OEM units.  It was only the custom housing and connection card(required to hook to the motherboard) that were non-OEM parts.  800 MHz processor based PC for $8000...in 2010.  How's that government waste working out for you?
2013-05-20 12:23:19 PM  
1 votes:
These are the kind of gearheads one will want on a long-duration space voyage.
2013-05-20 11:17:01 AM  
1 votes:

firefly212: The worst is that they waste money like there's no tomorrow on stuff like that, but when you need some random tool or something you use on a daily basis breaks, you'll catch hell for it and wait months before it can be replaced. OTOH, the expensive tools you never actually need get replaced on a fairly regular basis for no apparent reason.

Frankly, I attribute the problem to the buddy system between congresspeople and contractors. The guys who make flashlights or little mirrors to look under cars don't have many friends, but I'd wager the people who make portable thermal goggles spend a bunch on lobbying and dinner so they can have all kinds of friends that hear about how their goggles need to be replaced every 3 months, or some factory won't be able to "create" jobs.


Oh, the best part is the decision to buy something most definitely not needed, at the expense of not fixing or replacing your stuff that's been broken for over a year.  Some idiot (still in uniform, otherwise I'm tempted to out him) was acting commander for SFS while the real guy was downrange.  Decided that instead of repairing or replacing Lumina patrol cars with busted equipment (one car had no working lights, siren, or radio, and the engine sounded real funny), he wanted to buy several 6-wheel gator ATVs.  That couldn't go over 20 miles per hour.  During an exercise, I had to stop one car at an entry point, and watched this genius try to catch up to him from a half mile away.  Took him awhile to get to me.

/If I were this guy's boss, I would have discharged him for flagerant violation of the common sense regulation
//Or at least placed him on double secret probation, and removed him from a command position
2013-05-20 10:59:59 AM  
1 votes:

NumberFiveIsAlive: Explodo: NumberFiveIsAlive: My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder

This is true, and most of the specialized hardware is deliberately created in such a manner that it can't be replaced without going back to the contractor that had it made initially.

I had to build a computer system to mimic a military field unit.  We were able to obtain a motherboard with processor and RAM to build it.  The custom mobo was a few grand, but the only thing custom about it was the connection point for the processor and RAM.  It was otherwise just an ATX motherboard.  The custom CPU/RAM unit was about five grand.  It was an 800 MHz processor with 2 GB of RAM built into a special aluminum housing with a connection card in it.  The processor and RAM were standard OEM units.  It was only the custom housing and connection card(required to hook to the motherboard) that were non-OEM parts.  800 MHz processor based PC for $8000...in 2010.  How's that government waste working out for you?

I have many first hand examples, but I'll throw this one out there.  CSB/
Large DoD facility is doing renovation.  And by renovation I mean "Let's pay someone a shiat-ton of money to not install carpet tiles correctly, re-arrange the same cubicle furniture instead of buying new stuff, and 'fix' the HVAC system by just dusting out the vents".  If this wasn't a big enough waste of money, temporary walls and carpeting had to be replaced several times because they used different contractors for each item, and the other wasn't available to do their own work on time, so when the other person did t ...


The worst is that they waste money like there's no tomorrow on stuff like that, but when you need some random tool or something you use on a daily basis breaks, you'll catch hell for it and wait months before it can be replaced. OTOH, the expensive tools you never actually need get replaced on a fairly regular basis for no apparent reason.

Frankly, I attribute the problem to the buddy system between congresspeople and contractors. The guys who make flashlights or little mirrors to look under cars don't have many friends, but I'd wager the people who make portable thermal goggles spend a bunch on lobbying and dinner so they can have all kinds of friends that hear about how their goggles need to be replaced every 3 months, or some factory won't be able to "create" jobs.
2013-05-20 10:50:40 AM  
1 votes:

Explodo: NumberFiveIsAlive: My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder

This is true, and most of the specialized hardware is deliberately created in such a manner that it can't be replaced without going back to the contractor that had it made initially.

I had to build a computer system to mimic a military field unit.  We were able to obtain a motherboard with processor and RAM to build it.  The custom mobo was a few grand, but the only thing custom about it was the connection point for the processor and RAM.  It was otherwise just an ATX motherboard.  The custom CPU/RAM unit was about five grand.  It was an 800 MHz processor with 2 GB of RAM built into a special aluminum housing with a connection card in it.  The processor and RAM were standard OEM units.  It was only the custom housing and connection card(required to hook to the motherboard) that were non-OEM parts.  800 MHz processor based PC for $8000...in 2010.  How's that government waste working out for you?


I have many first hand examples, but I'll throw this one out there.  CSB/
Large DoD facility is doing renovation.  And by renovation I mean "Let's pay someone a shiat-ton of money to not install carpet tiles correctly, re-arrange the same cubicle furniture instead of buying new stuff, and 'fix' the HVAC system by just dusting out the vents".  If this wasn't a big enough waste of money, temporary walls and carpeting had to be replaced several times because they used different contractors for each item, and the other wasn't available to do their own work on time, so when the other person did their job, they had to un-do it, wait until business A actually DID their jobs, and then come back in and re-do it.
On top of all this, several miles of fiber optic cable that were installed less than 2 years prior were destroyed.  Instead of pulling the cable from the furniture guides, they just cut the cable in the middle and yanked it out, then threw it away.  ON THE ORDER OF THE CONTRACT OFFICE!  I know I know, it saved time allegedly, but holy shiat!
Oh, and furnishing EVERY worker with THREE (different networks) computers each, with each box running about $2000 government price, versus the oh $500 to maybe $1000 needed for 95% of the work required to be performed.  Instead of a standard box for most and custom boxes for the few, they just ordered standard HIGH END boxes for everyone.  Which will be replaced in about 2 years anyway.

"One thing the military is good at.  Efficiency"
/Said by nobody that ever worked in contracting
//Oh, and tens of millions of dollars of equipment discovered "missing" during inventory doesn't help either
2013-05-20 10:35:37 AM  
1 votes:

rohar: I don't get it.  This was pretty much common practice in the Sub fleet when I was on the boat.  Most of the equipment in the radio room was redundant, but we all knew how every piece functioned to the component level.  Nothing going on and you're on watch?  Fix something.

/I swear our MFHF was from the middle ages
//can't tell you how many times it had been repaired at sea
///probably didn't have any of it's original parts


Things are different above the surface.  The Air Force base doesn't need to reveal itself, relocate, and have good weather to accept delivery of new parts.  The USAF has outsource much of its technical expertise to contractors, that charge 10-100 grand to replace stuff like this that normally might cost a couple hundred bucks to fix or make in shop.  Not having skilled workers in force means the work has to go out.  These guys brought those skills back in.  See in TFA where other bases were shipping their parts to these guys?  Easier to spend a few hundred on shipping and parts instead of tens of thousands on brand new equipment.

/Also, if that "brand new" equipment is broken upon arrival, often the USAF has to pay to get more since the contract was written that way
2013-05-20 10:24:55 AM  
1 votes:
By the way, big deal to these guys.  Saving the USAF millions, minimizing downtime for equipment that needs new parts ordered, and giving themselves REALLY HUGE performance eval points for the rating period.  Not to mention the technical skill and experience they are getting out of it.  These guys have wrote their own tickets both in AND out of uniform.
2013-05-20 10:23:34 AM  
1 votes:

Mellotiger: Thunderpipes: Hermione_Granger: It's only a matter of time before RepI tublicans call them commies and have them fired because this is a positive story happening at the same time Obama happens to be in office.

You seriously crediting Obama for this?

I think "happens to be" is probably the operative phrase here. That would imply that, no, they aren't crediting Obama.


Some farkers must have an automated Obama rebuttal system in place.  It saves them the time of reading and understanding the previous posts.
2013-05-20 09:47:29 AM  
1 votes:
I'm sure they will be severely penalized for making the rest of the government look like a bunch of morons.
2013-05-20 09:46:08 AM  
1 votes:
It's only a matter of time before Republicans call them commies and have them fired because this is a positive story happening at the same time Obama happens to be in office.
2013-05-20 09:22:36 AM  
1 votes:

ZAZ: This of the poor defense contractors losing out on those $10,000 metal box replacement contracts.

In a couple weeks, the repairmen use microscopes and tools similar to ones dentists use to repair the amp for only $190.

Badly worded sentence. If the job took two weeks of work, the $190 price is less than minimum wage. If they have a two week wait list and the work takes an hour, say that.


The $190 is probably the cost of materials.  I doubt it includes the fully burdened labor costs or the cost of capital to run the facility in which they do their repairs.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-05-20 08:54:13 AM  
1 votes:
s/This/Think/

I need to make another pot of caffeine.
2013-05-20 03:00:07 AM  
1 votes:
Nice job, Gents.
 
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