Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF) 3 Star Admiral Mike Shoemaker says readiness is not the issue for recent mishaps. That seems to be a difficult argument to make.

VADM Shoemaker spoke to an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Thursday. He laid out the Naval Air Forces’ current readiness recovery plan, but it centered on service life extension–not the current mishaps and readiness issues.

The Navy’s F/A-18 E/F early lot Super Hornets are reaching a 6,000 hours. At that point they will need to undergo depot level maintenance to make them last upwards of 10,000 hours. When an aircraft undergoes depot maintenance, it is placed out of service. Too many aircraft can put a strain on the remaining operational fleet.

We’ve got to make sure we get that right,” Shoemaker said. “I think if we look at where we are,we can’t afford to have 50 percent of the fleet out of reporting. We’ve got to keep that down; one-fifth, maybe, is our target.”

Shoemaker is expected to brief Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller soon on the recovery plan.