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62 % Of F-18 Hornets Unfit To Fly, Up To 74% In Marines

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by randomradio, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    http://breakingdefense.com/2017/02/62-of-f-18-hornets-unfit-to-fly-dod-hill-focus-on-readiness/

    More than 60 percent of Navy and Marine Corps strike fighters are out of service, the Navy confirmed today. While 62 percent of fighters are effectively grounded, the overall figure for all naval aircraft is 53 percent. [UPDATE: With some of the oldest fighter jets in service, Marine Corps figures are even worse: In December, 74 percent of Marine F-18 Hornets were not ready for combat — 208 of 280 aircraft; see below for details.] Such striking numbers underline why Defense Secretary James Mattis, military leaders, and many legislators have prioritized fixing readiness for the force we already have, an immediate crisis, over the long-term build-up of a bigger force that President Trump promised in his campaign.

    Pro-defense lawmakers still want the build-up, but they acknowledge it’s going to take years, if not decades. For example, legislators have asked the Congressional Budget Office to study alternative spending plans to build a 355-ship Navy over 15, 20, 25, or 30 years, the new House seapower subcommittee chairman said today.

    “It’s important that we build ships but it’s also equally as important that we maintain the ships that we have,” said Rep. Rob Wittman, who’s taking over the Seapower & Projection Forces panel from fellow Virginian Randy Forbes. “Our commitment there will be equally as fervent as for building new ships.”

    What’s striking is less what Wittman said — he used to chair the readiness subcommittee — but where he said it: to a group of shipbuilders. The Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition (AWIBC) is largely the creation of Huntington-Ingalls Industries, which owns Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi and Newport News in Virginia, and its 2017 agenda is all about accelerating construction of new ships. It can’t have been too cheering to hear one of their chief cheerleaders on Capitol Hill is considering a 30-year timeline to build the 355-ship fleet.

    Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, speaking to the shipbuilders just after Wittman, was even more emphatic about readiness. “Secretary Mattis is — for those of us who’ve worked for him before — he’s always very clear, he’s always given good guidance,” Neller said. “Right now restoring readiness is the priority,” though the Pentagon team will try to fill “holes in programs” where possible.

    [​IMG]
    General Robert Neller

    Issues with insufficient flight hours for pilot training, insufficient spare parts to keep planes flying, and so on are at the top of the readiness priorities, Neller added. These problems tie directly into the low readiness figures for naval aviation, which were first reported by Defense News last night, acknowledged by Vice-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran at a hearing this morning, and clarified for Breaking Defense by a Navy spokesperson this afternoon. It’s likely Marine Corps Hornets are worse off than the reported figures indicate, since they’re some of the oldest fighters in the military.

    [UPDATED:] Marine Corps figures provided Breaking Defense confirm this guess. Of 280 Marine Corps F-18s, 109 are in long-term maintenance — heading to or from depots, in depots, or simply “out of reporting.” The other 171 assigned to squadrons, but 58 percent of these 171 aircraft are in shorter-term maintenance, leaving 71 to 72 aircraft, on average, ready to fight. That’s 42 percent of the Hornets assigned to squadrons but only 26 percent of the total inventory.

    [UPDATED:] It’s also worth noting that the services don’t report their readiness rates this way: They simply look at aircraft “in reporting” — in this case, the 171 assigned to squadrons — and figure how many of them are ready to go — in this case, 42 percent. The aircraft in long-term maintenance are “out of reporting” and not included in the calculation. But the figures from the Defense News story and confirmed by the Navy were calculated as percentages of the entire aircraft fleet, and we’re trying to give an apples-to-apples comparison.

    “We’re hopeful that all the discussion and all the talk is going to provide the resources that we think we need,” Neller said, “(but) none of this is going to happen overnight… even if you had the funding to increase the acquisition of airplanes or even if you had the money to increase the throughput through fleet readiness centers.”

    @Averageamerican @Picdelamirand-oil @somedude @Gessler @BON PLAN @BMD @vstol jockey @halloweene @CNL-PN-AA @PARIKRAMA @Abingdonboy @MilSpec @Hellfire @Agent_47 ...anybody else I missed.
     
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  2. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    @vstol jockey what is your comment after reading this?

    Can you also throw some light from Indian Navy perspectives and consider say old sea harriers or now Mig29k

    Did we also face similar challenge in Indian Navy air wing? If no? What did we plan smartly..

    @Picdelamirand-oil from Rafale M.perspective.. and what is your take reading this...

    Personally the 2 things
    1. Issues with insufficient flight hours for pilot training,
    2. insufficient spare parts to keep planes flying, and so on are at the top of the readiness priorities
    Are pretty damaging..

    @Abingdonboy what you think..
     
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  3. halloweene

    halloweene Major MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Expect large order of Superbugs Block III within next months.
     
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  4. WhyCry

    WhyCry Reaper Love Developers -IT and R&D

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    They are awaiting a congressional approval for the spares and budget. Hence, the same.

    But Marines have outright excluded Super hornet and are operating older aircraft. They have put their priority on F-35B (or you could say put all their eggs in the same basket).
     
  5. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Almost finalized? 100+ or...?
     
  6. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    He's being ironic. There are no plans from the USMC to operate the Super Bug. Nothing is "almost finalized" because nothing has begun. At this point the USMC can get away with their airframes sidelined for a limited time since they aren't engaged in major air operations (supporting land elements in Iraq, but primarily with rotary-wing airframes and ground support assets like rockets), and the USN primarily uses the Super Hornet, not the legacy models for strike missiles in theater, so this isn't a major impediment to them either. The USAF can pick up any slack in current operations.

    Not encouraging, but the legacy F-18 is on its way out of the USN anyway. The USMC will get any viable hand-me-downs from the USN and USAF if they're interested while they await a replacement for the AV-8 and legacy Hornet. All-in-all this kind of sparked a "meh" reaction from me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  7. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Welcome to the forum.

    We have been expecting some news about new Super Hornets.

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...f/a-18-super-hornets/articleshow/55787834.cms
    "To decrease the strike fighter shortfall and to best prepare future air wings for likely threats we will soon divest from legacy Hornets, look to buy several squadrons worth of Super Hornets and continue with efforts to bring on the F-35 carrier variant," said the official.

    And something what Trump said.
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/...cle_52b26c56-1f63-5ccf-afa7-97dbbe72e339.html
    On Friday, speaking at a Boeing plant in South Carolina, Trump said of the Super Hornet: “We are looking at a big order.”

    So they are looking to dump some of the old Hornets on the USMC and go for new build SH.

    Unrelated:
    @halloweene @Picdelamirand-oil @BON PLAN @CNL-PN-AA @somedude
    Canada
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fighter-jet-purchase-super-hornets-1.3956306

     
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  8. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Well this is what I get for not following politics. The USN has wanted more Super Hornets for some time, that's known, so Trump's not really adding anything the Navy themselves haven't already asked for. The Pentagon has a great degree of autonomy and can override presidential decisions or instead opt for support from Congress which controls budgeting, so Trump's talk of "a big order" doesn't really mean much to the military establishment. When the Navy and Congressional Budget Office put forth a procurement plan, then I'll get excited. The Navy's never been too hot on the F-35 while the USMC's more unique requirements are a result of its Gator force hence the F-35b, the USN has actually preferred to further develop its Super Bugs, nothing about what Trump said is unusual, it's just not official either.

    While Congress sometimes takes its own initiative to save programs the military doesn't want (like the A-10 the USAF has been trying to phase out) the president doesn't have the capacity to do much. Setting a budget floor, canceling certain programs, though Congress can override that if needed (same with Trump saying he'd cancel Russian sanctions. Congress can simply pass a law to reenact them), ordering more Super Hornets isn't something Trump can do on his own or with an executive order, he'll need to go through Congress and the Pentagon.

    Until then I wont put much stock in what the President says. I tend to ignore political stuff. It's 99% fluff no matter who's wearing the badge.

    ...

    As for the USMC, yup they'd get the leftovers of the USN. Anything the Navy doesn't want anymore that the Marines are authorized to have they have access too. With only around 300 legacy Hornets left in inventory, the USN's phasing out of the type is already almost complete with 32 squadrons using the Super Hornet and 6 (not counting test and evaluation squadrons) retain the legacy Hornet. Any of the legacy birds the USMC wants it'll get.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  9. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    IN always had issues with aircraft serviceability. Except for 1971 war for which a large amount of preparation had been done, we have never had more than 50% availability of aircraft in IN. In 1971 war we had 100% availability of aircraft. How IN did it is still a mystery.
     
  10. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    USMC had around ~280 F18 A/B/C/D

    Out of which ~80 are in storage.
    Another ~50 Dedicated to Training duties in USA.

    That leaves ~130 of these aircraft active.

    And 70% of 130 is around 85 aircraft.

    Which is the number active.

    Which is fine.

    Of course spares and age of the Aircraft are a problem , but its not bad.

    Of course the aircrafts in storage are questionable.

    Given that USN has ~360+ Super Hornets and ~200+ C/D Hornets active ,U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers have enough Aircraft for now.
     
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  11. Ankit Kumar 001

    Ankit Kumar 001 Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    The US Navy still has some ~100 of A/B version of F18, and around 200+ of C/D.
    With around 260 F35C on confirmed orders.

    And given that the global politics, we will again in all likelihood see 11 Super Carriers active.

    So that leaves a gap of around ~100-150 Aircraft which Super Hornet should easily fill up.
     
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  12. PeegooFeng41

    PeegooFeng41 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    @Averageamerican What do you think of this? I guess we were talking about availability of Indian MKIs limited to 50% or so because of lack of spares. F-18 seems to even worse.
     
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  13. Dagger

    Dagger 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Yep. Exactly. Amazing that he is so confident about Indian availability. Its good to track that. np. But shouldn't you be tracking Your own countries for a fair comparison. The news coming out of British trident, navy, subs, army recruitment. and now this for american. one wonders What happened to Western quality?
     
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  14. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    Just a small quip ...

    This is Indian Navy exactly a decade from today seeing their rate of induction and Armed Forces in general

    Maintenance funds will not be made available and those that are, will be 'surrendered' by 'efficiency' of IFA/CFA .... in 'saving' funds.

    Small example ... funds meant for works this year are being surrendered as IFA clearance has not come in time......

    Funds were to be used for security perimeter walls in major stations vulnerable to terror strikes for symbolic goal.

    Inspite of all timely submissions .... zilch
    @randomradio
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2017
  15. somedude

    somedude Captain FULL MEMBER

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    It makes sense. It's like what Picdel explained about the difference between "technical availability" and "operational technical availability" in the French Air Force: there are aircraft that are not supposed to be used (usually because they've already burned their yearly quota of flight hours) so you don't take them into account when you want to look at actual availability rate, you only look at the proportion of available planes among those that are supposed to be available. There's no technical obstacle to making the aircraft that are out of reporting operational again, but then you have to agree to increase the yearly flight hours for each aircraft, which means (since their lifetime is expressed in thousands of flight hours) to reduce their expected years of service, meaning that you have to procure replacements at an accelerated rate, so you have to increase the procurement budget again...

    The biggest issue really is that they don't have the maintenance budget for the aircraft. This can be explained by several things working in conjunction:
    • Nearly-constant "low intensity" warfare since the end of the Cold War. Permanent operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya since 2002; but also in the 1990s you had several crises in the Balkans with two interventions against Serbia. Despite that near-constant war effort, budgets have been slashed and numbers have been decreased as a form of "peace dividend". So you have less aircraft (and crew) to do the job, and you have less maintenance and overhaul money to repair the aircraft, but you're actually increasing the effort required.
    • Money diverted from maintenance to procurement, under the assumption that it's better to have broken stuff you can repair later and buy new stuff to have the numbers, than to repair the old stuff, not afford the new, and find out the congressmen are now saying that you don't need to get new stuff since you've been working without it just fine.
    • Excessively costly procurement efforts thanks to absurd level of mismanagement, draining the maintenance budget far more than intended: the F-35 (though the US Navy has been extremely reserved about it), the Littoral Combat Ships, the Ford-class supercarrier are on the top of the list of supremely bungled white elephants.
     

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