In order to get its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter squadrons to carriers, the U.S. Navy is transferring hundreds of parts from its non-deployed squadrons, decreasing those aircraft’s ability to respond to the call of duty if needed
Vice Adm Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces, has warned Congress that he only have 170 F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters (or 31% of the total inventory) that are fully mission capable and can fight a war.
Actually, in order to get its fighter squadrons to carriers, the U.S. Navy is transferring hundreds of parts from its non-deployed squadrons, decreasing those aircraft’s ability to respond to the call of duty if needed.
“At the beginning of October, in our Super Hornet community alone, only half of our total inventory of 542 aircraft were flyable, or mission capable,” Shoemaker wrote in a statement.
A claim confirmed by a service spokesperson who told Flight Global that currently half of the U.S. Navy Super Hornets are mission capable, meaning that the aircraft are “not ready for full combat but could perform some missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Only 31% are fully mission capable and could perform any mission, including combat. ”
Noteworthy the problem is most acute with the service’s Super Hornet and Hornet inventory. While the service’s EA-18G Growlers have the same airframe, the aircraft are newer than the F/A-18s and require fewer parts replacements at this time, the spokesman explained.
As we have recently explained Boeing is currently developing the upgraded Block III Super Hornet. Along with the new long-wave infrared search and track IRST21 system, the new Block III aircraft will feature several other improvements the will enhance the Super Hornet capabilities. In April in fact the U.S. Navy has awarded to General Electric (GE)a $114.8 million contract aimed to install new, more powerful engines on its F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.
Part of the Block III package are also the already planned upgrades to the jet’s powerful Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) Block IV suite.
Photo credit: VFA-113 Facebook page and Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio D. Perez / U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com