Fighters Downed by Hurricane: Why America’s best military aircraft couldn’t fly to escape a storm (excerpt)
(Source: Wall Street Journal Editorial Board; published Oct. 16, 2018)
Hurricane Michael did terrible damage in Florida last week, and that may include some of the world’s most capable military aircraft left in its path. But why can’t Air Force F-22 jet fighters, of all things, escape a storm? Answer: They lack the parts to be operational and so were stuck in hangars to take a beating.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Sunday that the damage to an unspecified number of F-22s on Tyndall Air Force Base was “less than we feared.” But maintenance professionals will have to conduct a detailed assessment before the Air Force can say with certainty that the planes will fly again. Press reports estimate that at least a dozen planes were left on the base due to maintenance and safety issues.

Welcome to a fighting force damaged by bad political decisions and misguided priorities. Of the Air Force’s 186 F-22s, only about 80 are “mission capable,” according to a July analysis from the Government Accountability Office.

The average across the Air Force in 2017 was that about 7 in 10 planes were mission capable, which is still too low for meeting increasing demands. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the WSJ website.

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