Naval Air: February 24, 2002


The U.S. Navy was having a lot of problems keeping it's aircraft carrier operations going before September 11, 2001. Shortages of sailors, pilots and spare parts made it difficult to train, or be ready for combat. In the last three years, the navy have received over half a billion dollars addition funding to deal with the persistent spare parts shortages. Yet the problems remained, and the cause appeared to be the way the navy tracked and distributed it's spare parts. Then came the war in Afghanistan. As with any wartime situation, ships and air wings were stripped of pilots and spare parts to support the carriers operating off the Pakistani coast. That war did not see the carriers flying as many sorties as they normally would, mainly because of the long distances that aircraft had to fly to reach their targets in landlocked Afghanistan. But now the navy is getting ready for possible operations against Iraq. The carriers that served off Pakistan are being rotated back to their home ports so that the crews can get some rest. The spare parts shortage remains, although even more money has been thrown at it. The sailor and pilot shortage has been partly resolved by halting discharges for a while. 


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