The US Navy’s Carrier Air Wing 14 is on the chopping block if Obama’s 2017 budget plan passes, the Navy Times reports.
Carrier Air Wing 14, based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, hasn’t been deployed since 2011, or fully staffed since 2013.
Currently, the US Navy has 10 aircraft carriers and 10 carrier air wings, however, the carriers need periodic maintenance, so at least one carrier will always be dormant during a four-year long refuelling and overhauling process.
Dropping the 10th carrier’s air wing could save the US Navy $926 million over the five-year Future Years Defence Program, USNI reports.
The squadrons assigned to the wing will find work in other carrier wings, or in the reserves.
Based on where they were in their training cycle, their location, and the air frames they use, these are the squadrons that will be leaving the carrier wing according to Naval Air Forces spokeswoman Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld:
- The Navy’s oldest F/A-18 Hornet squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron 15 out of Naval Air Station Oceana.
- Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112 at Naval Base Ventura, California.
- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 out of Naval Station North Island, California.
- Electronic Attack Squadron 134 at Whidbey Island, Washington.
- Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 76.
The carrier wing’s aircraft will be divvied up by other carrier wings, which struggle to keep serviceable aircraft on hand.
“Where applicable, the aircraft will be redistributed within existing squadrons in order to support enduring fleet requirements,” Groeneveld told the Navy Times.
“Restructuring to nine carrier air wings is the most efficient use of those operational forces to meet global requirements,” Naval Air Forces boss Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker said in a statement.
“Carrier strike group war fighting readiness and operational availability also improve by providing predictable rotations for squadrons, while reducing excessive time between deployments when carriers undergo lengthy maintenance availabilities,” Shoemaker continued.
The lack of a dormant carrier wing could also spell increased readiness for the Navy. “As carriers go through availabilities, we’re not going to see a squadrons’ readiness go down in the meantime,” Groeneveld said.
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