The Air Force’s aircraft readiness continued its multi-year slide in fiscal 2018, as the overall mission-capable rate for the aging fleet dropped below 70 percent — its lowest point in at least six years.
Of the 5,413 or so aircraft in the fleet, the percentage that are able to fly at any given time has decreased steadily each year since at least fiscal 2012, when 77.9 percent of aircraft were deemed flyable.
By fiscal 2017, that metric had plunged to 71.3 percent, and it dipped further to 69.97 percent in 2018, according to statistics obtained by Air Force Times via the Freedom of Information Act.
That is an overall decrease of nearly 8 percentage points since 2012.
Moreover, the decline has continued despite the Air Force’s growing concerns about readiness and its best efforts to reverse the trend. So far, however, it appears to have little to show for it.
“The Air Force has got a big hole it’s got to dig itself out of, and they’re taking their time doing it,” said John Venable, a Heritage Foundation fellow and former F-16 pilot who flew in Iraq and Afghanistan. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Air Force Times website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The US Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-35, saw its mission capable rate drop 5.1% to 49.5% in a single year.
Conversely, the F-22’s mission capable rate rose 2.7%, to 51.7% during the same year.)