[Defense in Brief] U.S. Navy forced to cannibalize fighter planes to keep existing wings operational

The U.S. Navy’s maintenance budget is so short that the service is forced to cannibalize good aircraft in order to keep others in the air. At present, half of the Navy’s fighter planes cannot fly due to a serious shortage of spare parts. The House Armed Services Committee notes that the Navy maintains a five-year average of cannibalization rates for each aircraft type in their fleet, which they update quarterly.  Comparing that average from the last quarter of 2016 to the most recent data available (April-June 2017), cannibalization rates have increased on 10 of the 15 airframes in the fleet. The panel is urging quick passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, which contains $1.9 billion, or $300 million over the level set by continuing resolution, in funding for the Navy so the service can procure badly needed spare parts.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *