It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The U.S. Navy plans to divest its older model Boeing Co (BA.N) F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets in coming years and hopes to buy dozens of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to deal with a shortfall of strike fighters aboard its carriers, a Navy official said.
The plan, which is still being finalized, could be implemented as early as part of the fiscal 2018 budget, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
"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.
The Hornet and Super Hornet community are overextended for three prime reasons, officials outlined:
Demand for strike fighters to support missions in U.S. Central Command that has driven hours up for the deployed fleets.
” We’re chewing up about 40 aircraft worth of hours a month and if we’re not buying that much or putting that much through the depot – we’re falling behind,” Stearns said.
A delay in deploying expected F-35C squadrons that prompted the Navy to extend the life of five squadrons of legacy Hornets the service anticipated it would retire. The Hornet extension, creating a maintenance backlog at the service’s aviation depots. That in turn, will push back the availabilities of Super Hornets in line to start their 6,000 hours maintenance periods.
“The depots were never set up to do high flight hour, which means essentially we’re extending them past the [6,000 to 10,000] hour life they were ever expected to fly just to meet the operational demand,’ Stearn said.
“Now they’re forced to have a three-year lead time to get the parts they need to get them in there – and it’s all a capacity problem.”
Funding challenges from the 2011 BCA to fully fund and man the depots.