US Military / Aviation Readiness

NeilChapman

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Looks like Lt. Col. Pavelka may have been thrown under the bus for looking out for his Marines.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/04/26/marines-say-helicopters-safe-fly-challenges.html

Several people need to get fired for incompetence because of this. Let me help out by listing two. I'll let you look up their names. I'm so disgusted I don't even want to acknowledge them.

Cmd Gen, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing - Lose of confidence in leadership

The Commander should have understood and managed the resources under his command. After the grounding and inspection of the fleet
last year, the Commander failed to follow-up and ensure the operational readiness of the aircraft under his command. The Commander had
ample indications of problems as he relieved Lt. Col Pavelka "because senior officials determined he had failed to keep the unit operating at
acceptable standards". But the Commander failed to understand and assess why Lt. Col. Pavelka's unit was not operating at the specified
standard which resulted in the loss of aircraft and Marines in Hawaii this year.

Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation - Lose of confidence in leadership

After learning of the state of CH46 problems from a news story ordered the grounding and inspection of the fleet. Marine Corps Deputy
Commandant for Aviation followed up by ordering a one year assessment from a third party. After the initial grounding and inspection, the
Deputy Commandant for Aviation failed to adequately follow-up and manage the resources and personnel under his command resulting loss
of aircraft and death of personnel.

Here is the news story where Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation "evidently" first heard of CH53 problems.

http://pilotonline.com/news/military/internal-navy-email-safety-of-helicopters-in-question/article_f66fb525-0f34-5334-8fde-3b3841891765.html

Here is a graphic showing the mission capable rates of Marine Aviation components.

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2016/04/26/fleet-peril-how-congressional-budget-cuts-are-crippling-the-marines-air-power/81974498/

With these types of numbers, it seems pretty far-fetched that the Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation should first hear of problems with the only heavy lift helicopter in his fleet from the newspaper. That's when he should have been fired for incompetence.
 

NeilChapman

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The below IG report indicates that Squadron maintenance personnel: improperly recorded MV-22 aircraft status information 167 of 200 times on aircraft inventory reports" and that "this occurred because squadron commanders did not:

(1) adequately train MV-22 maintenance personnel to prepare aircraft inventory reports and work orders nor operations personnel on readiness reports;
(2) verify the accuracy of aircraft inventory reports, work orders, and readiness reports or reliability of data critical to the MCR."

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2166286/v-22-squadron-readiness-rates.txt

15-20% of the time - Ok, maybe it's a training issue.

84% of the time? This is systemic and someone folks to be fired - starting with the leadership. Not the NCO that is "getting the job done". The fact that this report is from 2013 and Marine aircraft of several types have had fatal incidents that may or were likely due to maintenance issues is infuriating.

So now it's 2016 and we're about to get a "report" on the problems via a consulting group.

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/lists/posts/post.aspx?ID=2166

---

If 5 of 6 squadrons studied are not verifying the accuracy of inventory reports then you can be sure that is the tip of the iceberg. The word is out that obfuscation is required. I'd be validating readiness reporting across all units - ground combat, logistics, command, etc. - to determine if this behavior is systemic to only aviation units or has infected the entire Corp.

This is a serious problem for morale. Marines expect their leadership to have their back and junior officers are learning from watching their superiors. This behavior demoralizes the troops and erodes the confidence in their commanders.

It's up the Commandant or the CJCOS to determine the extent of fire in this smoke and take appropriate action as necessary.
 

NeilChapman

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Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy.

The aircraft shortage means pilots spend less time in the air. “This last 30 days, our average flight time per pilot was just over four hours,” said [Lt. Col. Harry] Thomas.

https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/13777.2.0.0/world/military/not-combat-ready-us-marine-corps
 

NeilChapman

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US Air Force - less than 50% of US fighter forces ready to deploy for a full range of combat missions at any given time. Need to be at 80-90%.

https://youtu.be/RMkYkfoTw_A?t=3166

Would like to modify the thread to be called "US Military Aviation Readiness". How do I do that? Thx!
 

NeilChapman

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http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2016/08/03/marines-order-24-hour-pause-flight-operations-all-non-deployed-aircraft/88047246/

"Last summer, only 378 of the Marine Corps’ required flightline inventory of 1,065 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft could fly..."

This is deeply, deeply disturbing. I can understand problems in forward deployed airframes due to wartime conditions. But this is not the case.

This President has never provided the budgets required for military professionals to do their jobs. As Commander in Chief, the President is personally responsible for setting the priorities, the tone, the behavioral example and, frankly, the lack of leadership that ensures resources are available for this "primary duty" of the federal government - to "provide for the common defense".

Very frustrating.
 

NeilChapman

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-myth-of-a-u-s-military-readiness-crisis-1470783221?hubRefSrc=email&utm_source=lfemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=lfnotification#livefyre-comment

One point of view...
 

NeilChapman

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A cogent response

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438982/united-states-military-readiness-david-petraeus-michael-ohanlon
 

NeilChapman

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Another interesting response to the Petraeus et alii article.


http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2016/08/31/no_myth_petraeus__ohanlon_miss_the_mark_on_military_readiness_109775.html
 

NeilChapman

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http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/10/26/aviation-chief-crash-killed-12-shouldnt-happened.html


This article references my original post to this thread. There are portions that make absolutely no sense and warrant additional investigation.

"Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said the probe found the aircraft themselves were in fine condition to fly for the Jan. 14 night training mission."

additionally he states...

"I would actually say there shouldn't have been a mishap," Davis said. "If you read the investigation report, it's pretty clear that there were a lot of things that could have happened to stop it from happening and didn't happen, to include the recommendation of the safety officers involved not to fly the mission."

Yet, from the article, the report states...

"Investigators found that all pilots and aircrew were qualified in accordance with regulations and standards and medically fit for duty … Investigators found the main contributing factors were low aircraft readiness leading to inadequate pilot proficiency, human factors, and the squadron's lack of focus on basic aviation practices."

Yet the crash occurred after "the arrival of the new commanding officer, Lt. Col. Eric Purcell", three days after Lt. Col. Edward Pavelka was relieved.

How can Lt. Gen. Jon Davis state the "aircraft were in fine condition to fly" when
1. the safety officers recommend the mission not be flown and
2. the accident report states aircraft "low aircraft readiness rates" contributed to the crash?
3. At their readiness nadir in 2015, only 23 percent of CH-53s were available to fly.
4. The same year, pilots of the aircraft logged the fewest number of flight hours of any aviation platform since 1988. Recall the crash was in January of 2016.
5. In August of 2016, a complete "reset" of all 147 aircraft was begun "to put every airframe through an on-average 110-day process of stripping the aircraft down completely, rebuilding it and changing out any high-time components.

I read this as...

1. Marine Corps aviation leadership failed to ensure that the CH-53E fleet was provided with the resources to ensure that aircraft were maintained effectively and available for pilots to maintain flight hours in a reasonably safe manner.

2. Marine Corps aviation leadership obviously knew that the CH-53E fleet was in a horrible state.

3. Pavelka was relieved, the aircraft were not safe, his pilots were not getting enough hours and he didn't want unsafe missions flown.

4. Purcell took command, and after the safety officers recommended the aircraft not fly the change in command resulted in the aircraft flying anyway.

5. The result was death of 12 Marines and the loss of two aircraft.

Lt. Gen. Jon Davis has held the post of Deputy Director of Aviation since June of 2014. His job is to assist and advise the Commandant of the Marine Corps on all matters relating to Aviation.

This lack of integrity by Marine Corps aviation leadership is disgraceful, disheartening and must be addressed to ensure the continued confidence by those that rely on these decision makers.
 

sferrin

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Victim of the rubber stamp. Sadly, if they refused to fly, or their commanders refused to allow the aircraft to fly, they'd just be replaced with yes men. "Yes we can!" Depressing to see this again. It costs money to maintain aircraft and proficiency.
 

NeilChapman

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No word yet from Lt. Gen. Jon Davis (Deputy Director of Aviation).

http://www.stripes.com/news/marine-corps/f-a-18c-jet-crashes-off-japan-efforts-to-recover-pilot-underway-1.443092

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/12/07/commandant-recent-marine-fa18-crashes-source-concern.html

Question for the Commandant - The Russians and the Americans have fighters crash in the same week. Looks like USMC Aviation is suffering from the same issues as the Russians. How many more incidents will there be before you make a change in Aviation leadership?
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.thecipherbrief.com/article/north-america/land-sea-and-air-us-military-readiness-navy-and-marine-corps
 

NeilChapman

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http://www.defensenews.com/articles/grounded-nearly-two-thirds-of-us-navys-strike-fighters-cant-fly

From the story.
"
The backlog is high. “There’s about six to eight billion dollars of stuff we can execute in April if we got the money,” the senior Navy source said. “We can put it on contract, we can deliver on it right away.”
"

Still can't believe Fmr Director Petraeus had the Kahuna's last fall to say readiness wasn't a problem.

Existing systems need serious cash infusion. F-35's production ramping up. CH-53K moving forward with LRIP-1 soon. MV-22B has upgrades in the pipeline including assault support weapons. FVL is in the pipeline.

Lot's of things to spend money on - today. It's troublesome to see the USAF looking for an A-X alternative when they need to maintain, upgrade and achieve tactical connectivity between existing systems.
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/articles/commandant-lays-out-priorities

"
Q: If Congress gave the Marine Corps more money, how could the service accelerate its aviation recovery plan?

I think the first thing we would do if we’ve already got aircraft that have got a production line – which we do for every airplane except the CH-53K – we would try to buy new airplanes faster.

We’d also want to make sure that we are fully funding the flight hour program, so we’re flying. We need to fly more. Part of flying more is fully funding it at a higher level.

If you can buy new airplanes faster; if you can fly the airplanes you’ve got with better parts support and people are getting to fly and maintainers are able to better maintain the airplanes, then the readiness goes up.

This is all about the readiness profile. So we’re going to be in a position where we’re fielding new aircraft and sustaining legacy aircraft for a number of years. It would be nice if the op tempo would go down, but I don’t see that happening either. We’ve got to do this all on the fly. We’ve got to improve our readiness and continue to meet our requirements.
"
 

NeilChapman

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http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/02/07/most-army-brigades-navy-planes-combat-ready-leaders.html

"
Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, questioned whether the military is really in such dire straits with more than $600 billion being spent annually on defense. She cited an op-ed by retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, which said that current funding is more than adequate to meet readiness demands. "He [Petraeus] suggests that we have enough money," Speier said.

The testifying officers quickly disagreed. Petraeus' arguments "don't match the facts as I see them," Allyn said. "We have significantly attrited" in the Army in terms of personnel with projections showing that the active-duty force would go down to 450,000 under sequestration.

"In terms of near-term readiness, there is a significant challenge in not only meeting op tempo but having sufficient forces ready," Allyn said.

Moran added, "I would disagree with Gen. Petraeus on saying we're ready today."
"

How about that, Allyn and Moran disagree's with Gen. Petraeus.
 

Kadija_Man

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Is the USA involved directly in any wars at the moment?

When did the USA involvement in a war directly end?

There has been, I assume a drawdown on the US armed forces since it ceased it's involved directly in any wars.

Why does everybody seem to assume that there should be a pilot for every aircraft when usually about 10-25% of any aircraft fleet is "down" for maintenance/upgrades/etc at any point in time?

The USAF used to purchase aircraft and line them up alongside the runway so that the Russians could take photos of them from space satellites. It's how, for instance, the RAAF managed to purchase so many F-111s for cheap after the end of the Cold War. They had hardly been flown, they had not undertaken any hard manoeuvres, they were sold dirt cheap to us downunder. They allowed us to effectively double our F-111 fleet. Thank you, USAF!

Today, serviceability may have improved but there is no way you need a pilot for every aircraft in your inventory. To assume otherwise is to have a lot of pilots sitting on their bums reading magazines.
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.c-span.org/video/?423331-1/military-officials-testify-state-armed-forces

In case you want to watch it. House Armed Services Committee "State of Armed Forces".
 

NeilChapman

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http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/17-02-08-current-readiness-of-us-forces

Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing - Readiness and Management Support

Worth a watch.

Tim Kaine - "I said to the Chairman on the way in today, some of we hear today we heard last year, and we heard two years ago. Somebody said, maybe if we listened history wouldn't have to repeat itself"
 

NeilChapman

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Kadija_Man said:
Is the USA involved directly in any wars at the moment?

When did the USA involvement in a war directly end?

There has been, I assume a drawdown on the US armed forces since it ceased it's involved directly in any wars.

Why does everybody seem to assume that there should be a pilot for every aircraft when usually about 10-25% of any aircraft fleet is "down" for maintenance/upgrades/etc at any point in time?

The USAF used to purchase aircraft and line them up alongside the runway so that the Russians could take photos of them from space satellites. It's how, for instance, the RAAF managed to purchase so many F-111s for cheap after the end of the Cold War. They had hardly been flown, they had not undertaken any hard manoeuvres, they were sold dirt cheap to us downunder. They allowed us to effectively double our F-111 fleet. Thank you, USAF!

Today, serviceability may have improved but there is no way you need a pilot for every aircraft in your inventory. To assume otherwise is to have a lot of pilots sitting on their bums reading magazines.

US military pilots are getting on average ~150hrs per year. You may want to watch the hearings utilizing the links provided in the previous two posts.
 

NeilChapman

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My interest in starting this topic was started by the lack of recognition (outside the community) of Marine Corps aviation readiness. Obviously the problem has been much larger in scope. My thanks to PaulMM for allowing the change of the topic title to the broader subject of US Military / Aviation Readiness.

I've recognized SP as an historical depot for programs, systems and issues. I'm attaching link to a document from CBO circa 1976. Topic is US NAVAL FORCE ALTERNATIVE - Staff Working Paper, discussing the issues of a 600, 500 or 400 ship Navy. From the summary...

"
The United States Navy has steadily declined in size over the past eight years, and it now stands at half its 1968 force level. The faces choices which will influence the future size of the Navy. It can elect to reverse the present decline and expand to a level of 600 ships, the force size the Navy itself would prefer. It can seek to maintain the Navy at slightly above its present level of 480 ships. Or it can allow the decline to continue so that the Navy will approach 425 ships by the late 1980s.
"

https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/94th-congress-1975-1976/workingpaper/1976_03_26_naval_0.pdf

Interesting read.
 

NeilChapman

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https://rusi.org/commentary/china’s-500-ship-navy-suddenly-appears-horizon

"
Just in the past three weeks a new destroyer and new corvette have been launched and discussion over new carrier-based aircraft has been increasing. The growth in the PLA(N) force structure has been rapid: indeed it is hard to recall growth at a similar pace in any navy across history.

Against this, the US Navy – still the world’s most powerful naval force – has an aspiration of returning to a force design of around 350 units.
"

In contrast, US Navy has two SSN's awaiting maintenance (Albany in for last 4 years, Boise tied up) completion and up to five more at risk of being decertified to dive.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/05/26/eisenhower-strike-group-to-fight-isis-with-cannibalized-parts.html

https://news.usni.org/2017/02/07/vcno-navy-will-be-just-flat-out-out-of-money-without-supplemental-funding-would-cancel-flight-hours-ship-avails
 

bobbymike

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http://dailysignal.com/2017/02/10/defense-leaders-agree-us-military-readiness-is-at-a-dangerous-low/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=thf-fb
 

Michel Van

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The US not the only one
German Military is in worst condition, they rund on shoestring budget
now they face manufacture mishaps like on Euroflighter
newest Fiasco Airbus A400M
From eight aircraft deliver to Luftwaffe only one is operational and that is Grounded for safety reason

This happen alone in January 2017
First got burst inner Cockpit window at flight over cyprus
Second who brought new new window for first, stay in cyprus with damage landing gear.
a Third had make a emergency landing after technical problems
fourth A400M lies in Swedish Luleå with damage landing gear.
Five to seven are grounded with oil leaks in Engines
Eight is Grounded for safety reason

during WRD5 Radio talk a military make his anger clear by asking politician:

Can we buy Russian cargo aircraft ? they much better and cheaper as that Airbus junk ...
source
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/airbus-a400m-luftwaffe-kann-nur-einen-der-acht-transporter-einsetzen-a-1134022.html
 

bobbymike

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http://gazette.com/editorial-no-time-to-waste-in-rebuilding-military/article/1596501
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/f-35-cost-target-impossible-without-block-buy-lockh-433981/

If anyone is talking to SECDEF or POTUS...

Any "bulk" purchase needs to include accelerated delivery quotas w/penalties for missing delivery quantity targets. L-M is only expecting to build ~200 F-35's in 2019. That number needs to increase. USAF and USMC say they can integrate ~40-60 additional jets per year immediately.

45 Jets were delivered in 2015
~53 jets delivered in 2016
?? in 2017 (NG states they will double center fuselage production sometime in 2017 from 1 every 3 days to ~1.5 days.
?? in 2018
17 per month in 2019 (expected full production rate)

I'm not convinced that L-M is "fully committed" to building 17 jets per month - let alone 20-22 jets per month. Would like to see the contracts reflect the delivery schedule w/penalties for not meeting production targets.
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/articles/marines-lost-experienced-maintainers?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBB%202.16.17&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

If you get a chance to read this article have a look at the comments. Gives an interesting reflection of the Corps aviation leadership. Another reflection of the top.
 

NeilChapman

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https://warisboring.com/the-u-s-navys-f-a-18-squadrons-are-broken-f21ec52bde99#.se67q6ore
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.navytimes.com/articles/admiral-richardson-warfighting-capabilties

Interesting request by Adm Richardson. Don't give away too much info on capabilities.
 

NeilChapman

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http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/less-than-half-of-marine-corps-aircraft-are-ready-to-fly/article/2617014#!

'
The statistic seemed to shock Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee.

"I'm sorry, can we go back for a second," Turner said. "That's pretty abysmal. To have that be closing the gap, we must have been in dire straits."
'
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.rollcall.com/news/policy/stop-loss-option-air-force-keep-departing-pilots


By the way, this topic really should be over in Aerospace.
 

bobbymike

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http://www.heritage.org/sites/default/files/2017-04/BG3208.pdf

USAF Independent Capability Assessment
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/marine-corps-aircraft-readiness-numbers-inaccurate-451070/
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2018/09/11/watchdog-report-the-latest-to-sound-alarm-over-military-aviation-readiness/


a little 'catch-up'
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/10/09/mattis-orders-fighter-jet-readiness-to-jump-to-80-percent-in-one-year/

I love this guy
 

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NeilChapman

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https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/10/11/how-marines-plan-meet-mattis-call-fix-aviation-readiness.html
 

NeilChapman

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https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/mattis-memo-ordering-higher-combat-jet-readiness-sparks-quiet-freakout-at-the-pentagon


Nothing like a deadline to encourage a clarity of vision.
 

NeilChapman

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Actions Needed to Rebuild Readiness and Prepare for
the Future

https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/694923.pdf
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.militarytimes.com/2018/12/05/investigation-blames-air-force-and-navy-for-systemic-failures-in-fatal-marine-corps-c-130-crash-that-killed-16/
 
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