Sustaining the ‘Rhino’

The global war on terrorism has placed enormous strain on US Navy strike fighters over the past 18 years, with headlines going so far as to call it a ‘crisis’ that was hitting fleet squadrons. The relentless deployments to occupy close air support ‘wagon wheels’ in support of US and coalition troops on the battlefield, coupled with underinvestment in sustaining the aviation assets, led to a significant maintenance backlog and unacceptable numbers of Super Hornets either cannibalised or parkedup, unable to get a slot in deep maintenance schedules. In November 2017, Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker said nearly one in three Hornets were non-operational and awaiting maintenance.

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