USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories: International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition, International Operations and New Administration.
2017 began with the promise of planning for a larger fleet: at the end of 2016, the Navy announced a 355-ship requirement, and the incoming Trump Administration expressed its support for a larger military and a heftier Navy. Few concrete steps were taken this year, though, to begin a buildup – though many programs that will be pivotal to the 355-ship fleet of the future reached significant programmatic milestones in 2017.
An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on June 9, 2017. US Navy Photo
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The total of 80 Super Hornets the Navy is set to buy over the next five years could grow based on the findings of the Pentagon’s ongoing and overarching national defense strategy review, acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told USNI News on Thursday following a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Read More
F-35A Lightning II aircraft receive aerial refuelings from a Travis KC-10 Extender July 13, 2016 on the flight from England to the United States. US Air Force photo.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The armed services are still unsure why Navy and Air Force pilots are struggling with their Onboard Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) while the Marine Corps – which uses the exact same systems – has had no problems, the Marines’ top aviator told reporters. Read More
Airman Michael Nywair signals that an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Argonauts of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 is ready aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on June 7, 2017. US Navy Photo
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Navy intends to buy at least 80 more Boeing F/A-18E-F Super Hornets over the next five years to address its fighter shortfall, a change from its previous on-the-books plan to zero out the aircraft program beginning next year, service officials said in congressional testimony today. Read More
Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore in January 2016. US Navy photo.
The Navy has asked lawmakers for additional aircraft, warfighting capability improvements and facilities upgrades if more money were to become available to the service, with the release of its Fiscal Year 2018 Unfunded Priorities List. Read More
USS Arlington (LPD-24) under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding. Huntington Ingalls Industries Photo
House and Senate appropriators reached an agreement to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year that includes a $593-billion defense spending package to allow the Navy and Marine Corps to continue with planned ship and aircraft procurement and readiness increases. Read More
A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 “Red Devils” departs the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, March 24, 2017. US Marine Corps photo.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Marine Corps could save about a billion dollars, reduce risk for pilots seeing too few flight hours each month and bring additional high-end capability to the fleet if the service were able to buy its F-35B and C Joint Strike Fighters at a faster pace, the deputy commandant for aviation said on Tuesday. Read More
The Marine Corps released its 2017 Marine Aviation Plan today, outlining its upcoming aircraft acquisition and upgrade plans and providing a glimpse of how those new capabilities will come together in various operational scenarios. Read More
Rear Adm. Mathias W. Winter, as then Chief of Naval Research. US Navy Photo
The former head of the Office of Naval Research and the former head of the Navy unmanned aviation development has been selected to lead the Defense Department’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program office, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday. Read More
An F-35 Lightning II stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., departs the runway during the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (AVALON) on March 4, 2017, in Geelong, Australia. US Air Force photo.
This post has been updated to include information from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific.
Current and future F-35 Joint Strike Fighter operators met this week to discuss plans for leveraging the fifth-generation airplane in the Pacific. Read More