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The Marines continue to lose pilots; F-18 grounded, the fleet Hornet

Posted By: IZAKOVIC
Date: Saturday, 6-Aug-2016 09:18:37

(Franco Iacch)
08/05/16

http://www.difesaonline.it/mondo-militare/i-marine-continuano-perdere-piloti-ed-f-18-messa-terra-la-flotta-hornet

The Marine Corps has grounded the entire fleet Hornet inoperative as a result of yet another accident, which occurred last Tuesday. The stand-down will cover all Marine Air Wings not arrayed in battle in the globe.

The last F-18C Marine crashed a few hours ago, near the Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. The pilot, assigned to Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, was able to launch, reporting only minor injuries. However, it is the second incident in a week to involve Hornet Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 based in Miramar, California.

On 28 July, an F-18C crashed near Twentynine Palms, California, during a night training mission. Died pilot. Last June, two other Super Hornet, this time the Blue Angels, were destroyed during a training mission off the North Carolina coast. Since last May, the US air force has altogether lost five Hornet and two pilots.

The defense cuts are having devastating effects of American aviation. In 1991, the US Air Force was 134 fighter squadrons. Today there are 55. The average age of a US military aircraft is 27 years. What is happening to the air fleet of the Marine Corps is a classic example of the real US Air Force situation.

Officially, the United States Marine Corps has a fighter air force, which was bought in the '80s and' 90s, 276 F / A-18 Hornet, more than two-thirds with operational capacity. April 20, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commander of Marine aviation, in a Senate hearing, said that only 87 of 276 fighters are actually able to fly, or 32% of the fleet. The rest is under maintenance or waiting to upgrade. Both operations can be done only with the disposable income.

The Marine Corps, official figures, with current available aircraft can fly pilots in training for only ten hours a month with required minimum 16. Yet the Marines point out that combating all American wars around the globe, they would always need the 58% of the fighter F / A-18 fleet.

The statistics mask the true extent of the crisis. The Marines retain about 40 Hornet between the Middle East and the Western Pacific for air strikes against Isis and for patrol near the area of ​​China and North Korea. 30 more F / A-18 are intended for the training of pilots. This means that only 17 Hornet can be controlled by hundreds of pilots who have to fly at least a couple of times a week.

In total, the Marine fleet consists of 438 aircraft, although it would take 1065. Under a contract signed with Boeing in 2014, the Marine Corps will receive 30 "new" F / A-18, the same parked for years in the deposit of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, near Tucson.

It is a rare, but not exceptional. Suffice it to say that during the war in Iraq, the Marine Corps called Super Stallion helicopters in service to make up for losses due constant use wear in the Middle East.

The Hornet regenerated will be brought to the C standard Boeing ensures ten years of activity for the cells, with a moderate use. Two F-18 have already been delivered, while four others will be ready by September, with fifteen aircraft on the flight line for the end of the year. The thirty regenerated Hornet should allow the Marines to ensure greater availability in the training departments and make the transition to the F-35 easier.

The Marine Corps, which has declared its first operational squadron JSF last summer, hopes to activate a second by the end of June. The new Marine fleet should consist of 420 F-35 squadrons in 22 by 2032.

The Marines, however, are not free from blame for having waited twenty years a new platform, which is currently too expensive, to the detriment of the investments necessary for the readiness of the fleet. At the end of 1990, the Marine was proposed transition to the Super Hornet that the U.S. Navy was developing for its aircraft carriers. The decision of the Marine Corps, will prove to be fatal (with hindsight). The Super Hornet was discarded until the F-35 in 1990 was to enter into service in 2006. We know how it will end.

To date, the F-35B costs on average three times that of a new F / A-18E / F purchased from the U.S. Navy. The Marine Corps has bet everything on the JSF.

Be noted, finally, the note of the Government Accountability Office last March. "The cost of extending the life of the fighter aircraft and the acquisition of other weapon systems, while continuing to produce and deploy the new F-35 aircraft, poses significant economic risks in a period of austere budgets for the defense."





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