Defense Secretary James Mattis wants America’s fighter jets ready to rumble.
Mattis has ordered the Air Force and Navy to have the mission readiness of each of four key types of fighter jets increased to 80 percent. The Sept. 17 memo setting the goal singled out the F-35, F-22, F-16 and F-18 jets, Defense News reported.
The most recent readiness data from 2017 showed that 71.7 of the Air Force’s fighters were ready for action on any given day. One of those jets, the F-22, was at only 49.1 percent readiness.
Readiness has also been an issue for the Navy. In August, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said this year started with 241 mission-capable jets but had increased to 270 by the late summer.
Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, chief of Naval Air Forces, recently estimated the F/A-18 Super Hornet fleet is at about 50 percent readiness, according to Military.com.
In his memo, Mattis said “budget constraints and shortfalls in aviation squadrons across the force” have led to “systemic underperformance, overcapitalization and unrealized capacity.”
“For change to be effective and efficient, we must focus on meeting our most critical priorities first,” Mattis wrote.
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