Navy Super Hornets Hit Big 80 Percent Readiness Goal, But Sustaining It Is Another Question
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September 25, 2019 - by Joseph Trevithick for thedrive.com
The U.S. Navy says that its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, as well as its EA-18G Growlers, have hit an 80 percent mission capable rate target for the 2019 Fiscal Year. This is an important achievement for the service and a dramatic improvement over their abysmal availability rates at the end of the last fiscal cycle, which were around 50 percent, but serious questions remain about whether or not this is sustainable in the long term.
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral DeWolfe Miller, Commander of Naval Air Forces, the service's top aviation officer, also known as the "Air Boss," made the announcement on Sept. 24, 2019.
Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis had issued a memo in September 2018 that ordered the Navy to take all available steps to get its Super Hornet fleet up to 80 percent mission capable by the end of the Fiscal Year. The 2019 Fiscal Year officially ends on Sept. 30, 2019.
A host of issues, including spare parts shortages and maintenance backlogs, prevented the F-35 from reaching its goal, while the F-22 has long struggled with low availability rates simply due to the complexities involved in operating and maintaining that aircraft and its relatively tiny fleet size.
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