Monday, November 9, 2015

2-star: F-35 delays could force further extension of Super Hornets

2-star: F-35 delays could force further extension of Super Hornets: Joint strike fighter delays may force the carrier Navy to fly F/A-18 Super Hornets even longer into coming decades, a predicament that could reduce training hours and strain airframes.

Plans have been in the works to retire the F/A-18C Hornets in the mid-2020s, followed by the F/A-18E and F Super Hornets around 2035, but the consistently delayed development of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter has compelled the service to push the Hornets past their planned service lives. The dilemma raises the possibility that Super Hornets new to the fleet may still be flying in three decades.

"We might even fly these airplanes close to 2040," air warfare director Rear Adm. Mike Manazir told members of the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower on Monday.

The most expensive acquisition program in Defense Department history is not coming online fast enough to replace the fleet's F/A-18 strike fighters, which have spent more than a decade as warhorses in current conflicts.