US Air Force jets grounded one-third of fleets due to budget cutsBy Angel Cuala on Apr 10, 2013 in United States •
Around one-third US Air Force jets were grounded due to budget cuts, starting Tuesday, April 9, 2013, which is apparently a move to make sure that the remaining units can still support the worldwide operations through the remainder of the fiscal year, which will end on September 30.
US Air Force jet
Image Credit: ACC.af.mil
According to the announcement of Air Forces Air Combat Command (ACC) on its official website that day, the budget cuts will affect operations and maintenance, which must be implemented in part by flying approximately 45,000 lesser training hours through between now and October 1 than earlier scheduled.
As noted by ACC, the grounded Air Force jets of the active-duty CAF aircraft include those assigned to fighter, aggressor, and airborne warning and control squadrons that are stationed in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.
“We must implement a tiered readiness concept where only the units preparing to deploy in support of major operations like Afghanistan are fully mission capable. Units will stand down on a rotating basis so our limited resources can be focused on fulfilling critical missions.” ACC commander Gen. Mike Hostage was quoted at ACC.af.mil.
“Historically, the Air Force has not operated under a tiered readiness construct because of the need to respond to any crisis within a matter of hours or days. The current situation means we’re accepting the risk that combat airpower may not be ready to respond immediately to new contingencies as they occur.” Hostage added.
“This will have a significant and multi-year impact on our operational readiness. But right now, there is no other acceptable way to implement these cuts.” Hostage explained further, with maintainers to complete upgrade training and clear up backlogs of scheduled inspections and maintenance as possible despite the budget cuts.
Some Air Force units currently deployed that will be grounded after they return from their deployments will include the A-10s, B-1s, F-16s, and F-22s. Meanwhile, the remaining units will stop flying on April 9. The US Air Force noted that the ideal required number of training days for aircrews to be on a mission-ready status is from 60 to 90 days.
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