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Congressional Forum Highlights Naval Aircraft Shortfall

Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, director of air warfare on the Chief of Naval Operations staff, addresses the crowd at the America’s Strength Aviation Forum in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo)
Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, director of air warfare on the Chief of Naval Operations staff, addresses the crowd at the America’s Strength Aviation Forum in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo)

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps leadership, elected officials and industry participated in an aviation forum on Capitol Hill recently to discuss the importance of Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States.  

“More demands are being made on the Navy every day,” said Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., Senior Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, whose district includes Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport. “We need more ships, we need more planes.”  

Sponsored by Navy League, topics included uncertainty of funding, sustained deployments, and delayed maintenance issues as the Navy’s carrier fleet is used extensively overseas and is underfunded.  

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Projections Forces Subcommittee, said four out of 10 aircraft that make up the Navy and Marine Corps’ F/A-18 strike fighter fleet are currently awaiting maintenance.  

Boeing is working with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to offer a solution that includes extending the lives of classic Hornets and buying new Super Hornets.  The Navy requested 12 Super Hornets in its unfunded priorities list it submitted to Congress.  

Congress has the opportunity to support the Navy’s fighter shortfall challenge by adding aircraft in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

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