Super Hornets and Growlers achieve readiness goal

WHILE THE USAF struggled to meet the October 1 deadline to achieve an 80 per cent mission-capable (MC) readiness rate for its fighter aircraft, on September 24 the Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF) announced that F/A-18E/F and EA-18G fleets had achieved that goal.

The US Navy’s accomplishment followed the implementation of reforms that were carried out across naval squadrons, maintenance and supply depots and other commands over the past year. The milestone includes 343 Super Hornets and 95 Growlers that are identified as being in the primary mission aircraft inventory (PMAI).

The mandate for the USAF, US Navy and US Marine Corps to improve the MC rates across their F-16, F/A-18, F-22 and F-35 fighter and strike fighter fleets was implemented by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis in September 2018. At the time, the fleets had achieved rates of 70, 50, 51.7 and 49.6 per cent, respectively.

To achieve the goal, the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) implemented the Naval Sustainment System-Aviation (NSS-A) initiative, which leveraged best practices from commercial industry to update and improve specific maintenance practices in squadrons and intermediate and depot Fleet Readiness Centers. Reforms were also made to supply chain management, engineering practices, governance activities and safety. NSS-A reforms will also be applied to improve and sustain readiness and safety for each type, model and series of naval aircraft. The USAF recently revealed that only the active-duty F-16 fleet would achieve the MC goal by the deadline.

F/A-18E/F [US Navy]
An F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to VFA-86 ‘Sidewinders’ during recent operations aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). US Navy/ MCS3C Michael Singley