The U.S. Navy’s Naval Aviation has achieved its Secretary of Defense (SECDEF)-mandated readiness target of an 80 percent mission-capable (MC) rate for both its operational F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleets, Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) announced Sept. 24.
After a year of reforms across Navy squadrons, maintenance and supply depots and other key readiness-enabling commands, Super Hornet and Growler readiness each stand above 80 percent of Primary Mission Aircraft Inventory (PMAI), at 343 and 95 aircraft, respectively.
Last year, with the Navy’s MC rate hovering near 50 percent, then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis directed the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to reach an 80 percent MC rate across their fighter and strike fighter aircraft squadrons.
To achieve this goal, the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) implemented the Naval Sustainment System-Aviation (NSS-A). The NSS-A initiative leverages best practices from commercial industry to update and improve aspects of Naval Aviation’s maintenance practices in squadrons as well as at intermediate and depot Fleet Readiness Centers.
Additional reform efforts greatly improved supply chain management, engineering practices, governance activities and safety. Initially, NSS-A focused on getting the Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fleet healthy, but quickly grew to include the Navy’s EA-18G Growler fleet due to the similarities in the two platforms. Ultimately, the Navy and Marine Corps will apply NSS-A reforms to recover and sustain readiness and improve safety for each type, model and series of aircraft.
According to Vice Adm. DeWolfe H. Miller III, the Navy’s “Air Boss” (Commander, Naval Air Forces, CNAF), after a decade of regularly maintaining between 250-260 MC F/A-18s, the Navy is now sustaining over 320 MC Super Hornets and surged to attain service goals of 341 MC Super Hornet and 93 MC Growler aircraft this month.