The US Navy had three aircraft carriers drilling near North Korea and the South China Sea while President Donald Trump toured Asia.
The Navy’s vice admiral in charge of naval aviation said the exercise was so big it hurt the entire force’s readiness and could continue to cost for a long time.
Trump recently described the military as getting stronger, but it’s still recovering from low funding levels since the government shutdown in 2011.
The US Navy recently put on a once-in-a-decade show of force, with three US aircraft carriers operating side by side in the Pacific Ocean just a few hundred miles from North Korea — but it cost them in a way that might hurt the force’s future.
The exercise added emphasis to President Donald Trump’s trip to Asia, where he spoke to heads of state about the need to crack down on North Korea and to enforce international law in the South China Sea, but according to Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, the commander of Naval Air Forces, it wasn’t cheap.
The cost of showing force
“To get Carl Vinson, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt [the three carriers used] ready to deploy in January, June and October of this year, and equip their embarked air wings with the required number of mission-capable jets, 94 strike fighters had to be transferred to and from the maintenance depots or between F-18 squadrons on both coasts,” Shoemaker told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, as the Washington Examiner notes.
“This included pulling aircraft from the fleet replacement squadrons, where our focus should be on training new aviators,” Shoemaker added.
The massive reshuffling of jets leaves non-deployed squadrons without planes to practice on, which will have “detrimental impacts to both retention and future experience levels” of those pilots, according to …read more
Source:: Business Insider