The U.S. Navy lacks the parts and materials it needs to keep hundreds of fighter jets operational, which could affect the nation’s ability to fight future wars. That’s the key takeaway from an audit released this week (pdf) by the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG), which is focused on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet—the Navy’s workhorse attack aircraft since 1995.
“Although Navy and DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) officials identified the quantity of spare parts needed, the officials could not obtain the quantity needed to satisfy current demand and fill backorders,” reads the partially redacted audit, in the works since March 2018. Because of this, the Navy “may not meet sudden increases in operational mission readiness requirements or the Secretary of Defense’s goal of 80‑percent mission capable rate for the Super Hornet fleet by the end of FY 2019.”
About half of the Navy’s 546 Super Hornets were operational as of last year.