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)
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