Both the Navy’s Legacy and Super Hornet fleets are having devastating readiness issues. Currently, three out of four Hornets are not ready to go to war. Why? The issue is threefold; demand for strike fighters to support missions in U.S. Central Command, the oft-discussed F-35C delay, and funding issues stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011. The first issue is an obvious one in a time of war. The second is a logistical crap show that has just recently started to correct itself, and the third, one could argue, is a larger and much more costly crap show than the F-35 debacle. Take a look.
Three out of four F/A-18s are not ready to go to war and it could take up to a year for the Navy to pull together enough reserve fighters to field a surge force air wing, service officials told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
A combination of warfighting demand, delays of the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter entering the fleet and sequestration cuts from the Budget Control Act of 2011 have left the Navy’s tactical aviation force just able to meet the basic requirements to combatant commanders, the commodore of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, Capt. Randy Stearns, told a joint hearing of the HASC readiness and seapower subcommittees.
Stearns said a few years ago, the Navy could have a reserve air wing ready to surge with a carrier strike group in 90 days.
Now, “it would take me six to 12 months,” to get another air wing ready to go to deploy with a carrier strike group due to lack of reserve forces,” he said.
“There’s nothing to pull from in the back,” Stearns told seapower chair Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) in response to a question.
“We’ve already pulled everything forward. There’s nothing left.”
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