Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing the U.S. Army some $14
billion a year in equipment repair costs alone. For example, in 2007, the army
expects to repair 267,000 combat vehicles, or major components (like engines),
as well as 360,000 electronic items (radios, night sights, computers and so
on.) The average repair job will cost about $1,400. The army expects to keep up
at this rate two years after its troops are out of Iraq and Afghanistan,
because of the backlog. This is all unknown territory for the logistics and
maintenance people. There has never been a war employing such a wide array of
high tech equipment, and in a trying (hot and dusty) environment. A large
proportion of the equipment is new, so it has no repair track record.
Fortunately, most of the armored vehicles (M-1 tank and so on) were worked hard
in the 1991 war, and their maintenance quirks in this environment were found
out (often the hard way.) Out of all this are coming new ways to build
electronics, and certain types of automotive gear, and new maintenance
techniques as well.