During a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) meeting earlier this month, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran stated that the number of non-operational F/A-18 Hornets is “double where it should be,” with 62% of the Navy’s F/A 18s unable to fly and 53% of the Navy’s total air fleet; including patrol, transport planes, and helicopters; grounded.
“For a variety of reasons, our shipyards and aviation depots are struggling to get our ships and airplanes through maintenance periods on time,” Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran said.
Moran was accompanied by Air Force and Army commanders who testified that the failure to have more F/A-18s capable of flying is a result of the sequestration and the budget cuts that occurred under the Obama administration.
Before the SASC hearing, Defense News reported that “more than half the Navy’s aircraft are grounded, most because there isn’t enough money to fix them.”
Defense News also reported that the Navy is lacking in sufficient funds because they can’t get money to move around service members to change assignments
“The Navy can’t get money to move around service members and their families to change assignments, and about $440 million is needed to pay sailors,” Defense News reported. “And the service claims 15 percent of its shore facilities are in failed condition — awaiting repair, replacement or demolition.”
Defense News added that while the Trump administration proposes a bright future for the Navy with budget increases, “for now, money is tight, due to several years of declining budgets mandated first by the Obama administration, then Congress, and to the chronic inability of lawmakers to provide uninterrupted funds to the military services and the government at large.”