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Naval Aviation Achieves Readiness Target, Shifts Focus to Sustainment

SAN DIEGO ? The commander of Naval Air Forces announced on Sept. 24 that Naval Aviation has achieved its secretary of defense-mandated readiness target of an 80% mission-capable rate for both its operational F/A-18 E/F ?Super Hornet? and EA-18G ?Growler? fleets. 

After a year of reforms across Navy squadrons, maintenance and supply depots and other key readiness-enabling commands, Super Hornet and Growler readiness each stand above 80% of primary mission aircraft inventory ? 343 for Super Hornet and 95 for Growler, respectively. 

Last year, with the Navy?s mission-capable rate hovering near 50%, then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis directed the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to reach an 80% rate across their fighter and strike fighter aircraft squadrons. 

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Without additional $157 million, US Army aviation readiness projected to suffer

WASHINGTON ? Without an additional $157 million, U.S. Army aviation readiness could suffer, according to an omnibus reprogramming request sent to Capitol Hill on June 25. The Army is asking congressional defense committees to approve the injection of $157 million into Army aviation readiness drawn from other fiscal 2019 accounts to fill a funding gap.

?Funds are required to support Army flight training, which includes rotary wing flight instructor support, repair parts, fuel, simulations, and maintenance of Army flight training aircraft,? the document states.

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Air Force Makes Readiness Gains Even as Pilot Shortage Continues

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson painted a grim picture two years ago of the eroding readiness levels plaguing her service in the wake of sequestration and budget cuts, including aircraft atrophying on flight lines and pilots getting too few flight hours. It didn’t mean that the Air Force wouldn’t step up to fight in a conflict, she said.

“It means fewer will come back. I think we need to understand that,” she told reporters at the Pentagon in 2017.

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Technology training key to USAF readiness and lethality, says under-secretary

On a visit to the Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, US Air Force (USAF) under-secretary Matthew P Donovan highlighted the importance of proper training for future USAF readiness and lethality.

Donovan stressed the significance of establishing infrastructure, such as learning laboratories, pre-flight briefings, and simulation equipment at the Sheppard facility and others across the US. He also mentioned that modernising key capabilities, improving the skillset of the workforce and providing operational innovation were part of the US National Defense Strategy (NDS).

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Mattis orders fighter jet readiness to jump to 80 percent ? in one year

WASHINGTON ? Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has ordered the Air Force and Navy to get mission capable rates for four key tactical aircraft up above 80 percent by the end of next September, a daunting challenge given the current readiness rates of America?s fighter fleets.

In a memo issued Sept. 17 to the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy, along with acquisition head Ellen Lord and acting Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Stephanie Barna, Mattis acknowledges ?budget constraints and shortfalls in aviation squadrons across the force? have led to ?systemic underperformance, overcapitalization and unrealized capacity? in the fighter fleets.

DefenseNews.com

The US may not be able to fight two big wars at once

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. military would be able to handle itself adequately in a single major regional conflict while maintaining smaller operations around the globe, but its ?marginal? capabilities mean America would struggle if forced to take on a second major conflict at the same time, a new report has found.

That is the conclusion of The Heritage Foundation?s 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength, which offers reviews of the past year?s defense-policy issues. The index looks at both the global operating environment and an internal assessment of U.S. military strength. As in previous years, all topics are rated on a five-point scale: ?very weak,? ?weak,” ?marginal,? ?strong,” and ?very strong.?

DefenseNews.com

Watchdog report sounds alarm over military aviation readiness

A government watchdog report released this week is the latest to sound the alarm over the Air Force and Navy?s fleet of aging aircraft, vital planes that are often in no shape to fly.

The Government Accountability Office report surveyed five Air Force and seven Navy types of planes between Fiscal Years 2011 and 2016.

?The Air Force and Navy are operating many of their fixed-wing aircraft well beyond their original designed service lives and therefore are confronted with sustainment challenges,? the GAO reports.

It found that nine of 12 aircraft fell short of availability goals in 2016. Availability overall declined for half of the planes from 2011 to 2016.

NavyTimes.com