Reports are circulating that almost two thirds of the Navy’s strike fighter aircraft cannot fly due to lack of maintenance and a shortage of spare parts. The Navy says the reason is declining budgets and Congress not passing them on time, instead relying on continuing resolutions to fund the government.
The budget issue is also impacting the Navy’s ability to maintain ships. President Trump has vowed to increase spending to rebuild the military.
The services will make their case to Congress this week when the vice chiefs of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps testify in readiness hearings before the House Armed Services Committee.
“If we get any money at all, the first thing we’re going to do is throw it into the places we can execute it,” a senior Navy source said Feb. 2. “All of those places are in ship maintenance, aviation depot throughput — parts and spares — and permanent changes of station so we can move our families around and fill the holes that are being generated by the lack of PCS money.”
The backlog is high. “There’s about $6-8 billion of stuff we can execute in April if we got the money,” the senior Navy source said. “We can put it on contract, we can deliver on it right away.” – DefenseNews
The Navy has told President Trump that the critical need is for maintenance issues and not ‘new starts’. The Navy states that over half of all Naval aircraft cannot fly. This includes patrol and transport aircraft as well as helicopters in addition to combat aircraft.
When you don’t have planes to fly that means aviators and crewmembers are not getting the training and flight time they need to be proficient in their jobs. This presents a great risk to our national defense that many people may not be aware of. A lack of flight time and training also puts aircrew at greater risk.
Featured image Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Alexandra Mimbela performs maintenance on an F/A-18F Super Hornet. Photo by US Navy