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. 


Navy Stands Up Joint Strike Fighter Wing to Oversee F-35C Operations, Training, Manning

The Navy has stood up a Joint Strike Fighter Wing in Lemoore, Calif., that will oversee training, manning and readiness of all the?service?s F-35C squadrons.

Capt. Max McCoy, the commodore of the squadron, told USNI News in a recent interview that having a single point-person overseeing all Navy efforts related to operating and maintaining the new airplanes will prove to be a smart decision.

?The F-35C is unlike any other airplane we?ve had to date. It brings unique capability; how we sustain and maintain it is different; and it offers new ways of training our pilots to fly it,? he said.
?So breaking it out as its own type wing is absolutely critical so that we could give it the 100-percent focus that it needed to mature the program and to integrate it into the carrier air wing and the carrier strike group as fast as we can. So I think standing up a wing and building a staff whose sole purpose in the world is focusing on the uniqueness of this airplane and making sure we succeed as fast as we can was critical and absolutely the right decision.?

Bullet?s bold blueprint to save Navy aviation

It?s not every day that the man in charge of Navy aviation gets to meet a ?Frankenfighter,? but that happened on Sept. 17 at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest.

Two decades ago, the depot on Naval Air Station North Island near San Diego likely would?ve scrapped a heavily damaged Hornet strike fighter already past its prime, but an ongoing readiness crisis in carrier aviation changed all that.

Mechanics decided to try to salvage the mess by stitching two crumpled planes together and cannibalizing parts from a jigsaw puzzle of other junked jets.