Revealed, 44 of 49 Types of US Military Aircraft are Not Ready to Fly, This is the Explanation!

Revealed, 44 of 49 Types of US Military Aircraft are Not Ready to Fly, This is the Explanation!
Revealed, 44 of 49 Types of US Military Aircraft are Not Ready to Fly

Washington - Only five of the 49 types of aircraft in the arsenal of the United States (US) military met mission readiness targets for five years or more in the period between fiscal 2011 and 2021. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed this in its official report. The findings come despite pouring more than $800 billion of US taxpayer money into the military by 2021. It also comes despite the Pentagon's heavy reliance on the Air Force to perform the heavy lifting of most of its operations around the world, including the bombing of several countries.

In a comprehensive 352-page report released this week, the congressional spending watchdog pointed out that issues such as aircraft age, maintenance issues and parts availability dramatically hampered readiness levels. The readiness level is measured by the aircraft's ability to fly and perform at least one mission. Only the Air Force's UH-1N, the grandfather of helicopters produced in the 1970s, was deemed mission capable during the eleven year period studied.

The Navy's EP-3E anti-submarine reconnaissance turboprop was second best, meeting annual mission capability goals seven out of eleven years. The Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber and RC-135S-W command and control aircraft score six years. Navy E-6B C&C aircraft round out the top five, being considered mission ready for five out of 11 years.

The remaining 44 aircraft and helicopters on the list scored 3 or lower, with 26 types of military aircraft failing to meet mission capability requirements for even one year. Among these are the highly acclaimed Marine Corps F-35B fighter aircraft, Air Force F-16s, Marines F-22 and KC-130J tankers, Air Force C-17 cargo carriers, Navy C&C E-C2 aircraft, and ten types of aircraft. other Army, Navy and Marine Corps helicopters, including the CV-22 Osprey.

The Navy's sleek F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet multirole jet, depicted in the critically acclaimed summer blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, was deemed unready to fly for 11 years. The report reckons that over the 2011-2021 fiscal year timeframe, the only military branch that increased its mission capability level was the Army, with the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps all seeing reduced readiness.

As of 2021, only two of the 49 aircraft studied meet mission capability criteria. GAO pointed to a variety of factors affecting the level of readiness, from delayed fleet upgrades and forced service life extensions to unexpected breakdowns requiring expensive repairs and new parts, shortages of such components, delays in their delivery, and even complete loss of parts.

Additionally, inspectors cited a lack of maintenance depot capability, a shortage of trained maintenance personnel, and problems with access to the technical data needed to make repairs possible. According to GAO, the Army's and Air Force's operating and support costs have fallen by 18% and 54%, respectively, over the decade examined.

The Navy and Marine Corps increased by 39% and 75% respectively. Total operating and support costs totaled USD 54 billion in 2020, with overall average maintenance costs increasing, aircraft inventory increasing by 14.8%, but total flight hours dropping by more than 20%.

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