The US Naval aviation suffers lack of fighter jets for future conflicts: Commander
Iran Press TV
Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:29PM
A US Navy commander has warned that with more than half of all Navy aircraft out of services, they are left with "no depth on the bench" for any conflict in the future.
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week that the Navy's usable planes are currently being pushed to the limit, CNN reported Friday.
He explained that 53 percent of the Navy's total air fleet is now grounded. Sixty-two percent of the Navy's F/A 18s are grounded due to repair delays or because they are awaiting spare parts, according to Moran.
The F/A 18 strike fighter jets, which are described as the backbone of naval aviation, were designed to have a lifespan of roughly 6,000 flight hours.
"For a variety of reasons, our shipyards and aviation depots are struggling to get our ships and airplanes through maintenance periods on time," Moran told the lawmakers.
Moran blamed administration of former President Barack Obama and the congress for having implemented budget cuts and left the navy with an aging, overworked and undermanned air fleet.
Problems highlighted by Moran illustrate the US military's "extraordinarily low levels of readiness," John Venable, a senior researcher for defense policy at The Heritage Foundation told CNN. He warned that the problem could also get worse before they get better.
While the Navy is now conducting studies to rebuild its fleet, Democratic representative, Adam Smith, said President Donald Trump's administration and the Republican-dominated Congress will be faced with major challenges to fulfill campaign promises, like adding more planes to the Air Force.
"You can fantasize about spending as much money as you want, but the reality is we won't be able to fix our military readiness problems without repealing the Budget Control Act," he told CNN. "So far the Republicans haven't been able to show us any plan to do that."
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