Tags: marine | aviation | stretched | thin

Fox News: Marine Corps Aviation Stretched to Breaking Point

Image: Fox News: Marine Corps Aviation Stretched to Breaking Point
U.S. Marines V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. (Getty Images) 

By    |   Friday, 15 Apr 2016 09:49 PM

The Marine Corps' aviation service is being stretched dangerously thin, with an aging fleet largely grounded by the toll of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts, Fox News reports. 

According to Fox News, out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters, only about 30 percent are ready to fly, and only two of 147 heavy-lift helicopters are airworthy. In addition, highly trained mechanics in the aviation depots left for jobs in the private sector.

Military spending has dropped from $691 billion in 2010 to $560 billion in 2015, Fox News notes – cuts that include those made by the Obama administration as well as the sequestration cutbacks agreed to by Congress.

"Quite honestly, it is coming on the backs of our young Marines," Lt. Col. Matthew Brown, commander of a Hornet squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., tells Fox News.

"They can do it, and they are doing it but it is certainly not easy…. The likelihood of a ground mishap or them making a mistake late at night, and the pressure to perform, is really where I see the bigger safety risk."

Cannibalization, or taking parts from one multi-million dollar aircraft to get other multi-million dollar aicraft airborne, has become the norm, Fox News reports.

"Imagine taking a 1995 Cadillac and trying to make it a Ferrari," Sgt. Argentry Uebelhoer tells the news outlet. "You're trying to make it faster, more efficient, but it's still an old airframe … [and] the aircraft is constantly breaking."

The call for help was sounded last month in Congress. 

"Our aviation readiness is really my No. 1 concern," Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said, Fox News reports. "We don’t have enough airplanes that we would call ‘ready basic aircraft.'"

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The Marine Corps' aviation service is being stretched dangerously thin, with an aging fleet largely grounded by the toll of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fight against ISIS and budget cuts, Fox News reports.
marine, aviation, stretched, thin
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2016-49-15
Friday, 15 Apr 2016 09:49 PM
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