Restoring Afloat Readiness is Top Navy Unfunded Priority
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has drawn up a list of executable unfunded priorities for readiness and procurement programs that emphasizes, above all, the need to shore up depot-level maintenance for ships and flying hours for aviation units. The top priorities in the list address shortfalls in afloat readiness that now total $2 billion.
“The greatest challenges continue to be recovering readiness and restoring aviation and weapons capacity,” a Defense Department information paper said. “Without additional funding, [fiscal] 2017 is projected to have a significant shortfall in afloat readiness, some of which will carry over and pressurize future years.”
The top items on the list include ship depot maintenance ($647 million); air operations, including flight hours ($504 million); information warfare and other support, particularly cyber security and expeditionary equipment maintenance ($355 million); ship operations, including reducing engineering casualties and back-orders of parts ($339 million); waterfront equipment, watercraft and boats ($68 million); and service craft maintenance and overhaul ($53 million).
The top procurement requirements are for aerial and high-speed surface targets, $26 million and $10 million, respectively. Next on the list is a need for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters ($2.32 billion), needed to bridge the readiness gap until the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter is in the fleet in significant numbers. Other needs on the list are an increase of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from 11 to 17 ($1.2 billion); an increase of F-35C procurement from four to six ($270 million); and two C-40A transports (207 million), which will fulfill the requirement for 17 aircraft.
Weapons on the list for increases include Tomahawk land-attack missiles, Joint Direct-Attack munition kits, Standard Missile-6 Block IA surface-to-air missiles, AIM-9X air-to-air missiles, Rolling Airframe Missile Block IIs, Laser Maverick missiles and Mk 54 torpedoes.
Farther down the list are new ships and craft: one San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship ($1.83 billion), one John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler ($547 million), one expeditionary fast transport ($256 billion), an SPY-6 radar for an Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer ($433 million), three more LCAC 100s air-cushioned landing craft ($190 million), one fleet tug and salvage ship ($75 million), one LCU 1700-class utility landing craft ($34 million) and advance funding for an expeditionary support base ship.