The United States Air Force has a coffee problem. Since 2016 the military branch has spent a mind-boggling $326,785 on only a handful of broken coffee cups.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson finds the expenditure unacceptable and she sent a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in which she said it “is simply irresponsible” to continue spending $1,280 whenever a single mug breaks.
The “special mugs” were created to reheat liquids aboard refueling tankers in flight. Unfortunately, they are not built for durability.
“Unfortunately, when dropped, the handle breaks easily, leading to the expenditure of several thousand dollars to replace the cups as replacement parts are not available,” Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman told Fox News.
Air Force Times reports that the handles are made of cheap plastic which can’t be re-ordered without accepting delivery of an entirely new cup.
A single squadron spent $50,000 on the coffee cups “over the past three years” Hodgman told Fox News.
The cost to 3-D print a replacement handle? About “fifty cents each” according to Wilson.
Hopefully those 3-D printed handled go into production soon. Since 2016 U.S. have been paying a hefty cost for pilots to drink coffee and reheat liquids.
“While I appreciate that the Air Force is working to find innovations that would help save taxpayer dollars, it remains unclear why it cannot find a cheaper alternative to a $1,280 cup,” Wilson added.
Sen. Grassley has questioned why the Air Force needs such expensive cups to simply heat up a cup of coffee in flight.
At a cost between $1,220 and $1,280, something needs to change.