The Obama defense budget made over half of Navy strike fighters inoperable
The US Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet strike fighters are the tip of the spear, embodying most of the fierce striking power of the aircraft carrier strike group. But nearly two-thirds of the fleet’s strike fighters can’t fly – grounded because they’re either undergoing maintenance or simply waiting for parts or their turn the aviation depot backlog.The Trump administration faces a major task just getting the Navy operational again, much less growing it as Trump has proposed. The dereliction of maintenance force by the Obama administration is disgraceful and has endangered US national security. Congress needs to move to fix this problem and investigate why it was allowed to deteriorate so badly.
Overall, more than half the Navy’s aircraft are grounded, most because there isn’t enough money to fix them.
There isn’t enough money to fix the fleet’s ships, and the backlog of ships needing work continues to grow. Overhauls – “availabilities” in Navy parlance – are being cancelled or deferred, and when ships do come in they need longer to refit. Every carrier overall for at least three years has run long, and some submarines are out of service for prolonged periods, as much as four years or more. One submarine, the Boise, has lost its diving certification and can’t operate pending shipyard work, and leaders claim that if more money doesn’t become available five more will be in the same state by the end of this year.
The Navy can’t get money to move around service members and their families to change assignments, and about $440 million is needed to pay sailors. And the service claims 15 percent of its shore facilities are in failed condition – awaiting repair, replacement or demolition.