The U.S. Navy is discarding nearly 140 older models of the F/A-18 fighter aircraft in favor of transitioning to newer models, as the cost to maintain the older models is too high.
“Two strike board reviews with Fleet, CNO and NAVAIR personnel determined that 136 aircraft could be authorized for strike because their effective life was consumed and would require significant repair,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Chatmas told Defense News. “The Navy will strike these aircraft over the course of fiscal years 2017 and 2020.”
The June plan is to scrap F/A-18 Hornet variants A through D. Of the 136 aircraft, 66 of them would be scrapped by 2020.
The decision is expected to save the service nearly $1 billion to be used on other readiness initiatives the Navy is working toward, Defense News reported.
“The decision was based upon readiness risk of existing F/A-18 A-D inventory, long-term operational costs versus gain in capability, and the potential to improve USMC readiness by transferring best of breed aircraft to the USMC,” Chatmas said.
By 2019, four squadrons will have transitioned to the newer F/A-18 variants.
The Navy Blue Angels will continue flying in legacy Hornets until spare “E” and “F” variants become available.
The F/A-18E and F/A-18F variants are more advanced versions of the F/A-18 “C” and “D” variants as they contain larger fuel capacities and more weapons stations.