Why Did The Navy Cut Their Aviation Budget?
A June 2019 article of the U.S. Naval Institute Newsletter highlights an approximate $100 million shortfall in Naval Aviation’s current fiscal year budget. The Naval Aviation Budget Shortage could cause a noticeable curtailment of previously scheduled events and even some operational cutbacks. The fiscal year ends in September, although discussions are currently underway among the various sectors about how to manage the shortfall without jeopardizing national defense.
As of June 27, 2019, no final decisions had been made. However, the heads of Naval Aviation, including Commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic Rear Admiral Roy Kelley, are considering alternative measures to reduce the impact of the Naval Aviation budget shortage.
What Might Happen During the Unexpected Naval Aviation Budget Shortage?
While one Navy spokesman reports that the aviation forces are currently at their highest level of readiness in over a decade, adjusting some operations may be warranted. Adjustments may be necessary to remain on course to meet the overall objectives set by Congress, the spokesman adds.
Reductions in less critical activities are being considered. Some possibilities include:
- Canceling flyovers at sporting events and other occasions
- Reducing total flight hours during the final quarter of the fiscal year
- Possibly shutting down one air wing
- Reducing helicopter maritime strike squadron operations
- Reducing operations of helicopter sea combat squadrons
According to TheDrive.com, the Navy canceled all scheduled Super Hornet Demonstration Team Performances at various air shows for the rest of the year.
In recent years, with mandates from Congress, Naval Aviation has increased its combat readiness from a level of 50% to a current level of 75%. Much of this improvement has stemmed from a better focus on spare parts procurement and improved logistics. This readiness improvement has placed more high functioning aircraft back in service and allowed Naval Aviation to increase pilot flying times and military responsiveness.
Bringing the non-functioning equipment back on-line is a major reason for the Naval Aviation budget shortage.
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