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.
The following is the June 21, 2017 CRS Insight brief to Congress, Out of Breath: Military Aircraft Oxygen Issues.
The Air Force recently grounded some of its newest aircraft, F-35A strike fighters, due to incidents in which pilots became physiologically impaired with symptoms of oxygen deficiency while flying. Although the root cause of the F-35 incidents has not yet been established, the grounding has renewed attention on hypoxia, a physical condition caused by oxygen deficiency that may result in temporary cognitive and physiological impairment and possible loss of consciousness. Hypoxia has affected pilots of F-22, F/A-18, and T-45 aircraft in recent years. Read More
A T-45C Goshawk training aircraft assigned to Carrier Training Wing (CTW) 1 approaches the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on March 20, 2017. US Navy Photo
This post has been updated to include additional comment from Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran in a phone call with reporters.
A comprehensive review of the rising number of physiological episodes and the Navy’s response to those PEs determined the Navy’s oxygen-generation and cabin pressure systems are too complex for reliable performance, and that the process for reporting and investigating the root cause of physiological episodes is “fundamentally flawed,” according to the review released this afternoon. Read More
USS Sampson (DDG-102) steams along San Celemente Island on May 7, 2017. US Navy Photo
Since the last Pentagon budget request 15 months ago there’s been a presidential election, a seven-month continuing resolution, a supplemental spending bill, promises from the new administration for a military spending spree, vows from inside the Pentagon to rebuild readiness and multiple studies looking at what a future naval fleet should look like.
In the churn leading up to this week’s release of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget request to Congress, questions still remain on the Navy’s acquisition and readiness plans. The following is a list of important policy and acquisition issues that Navy officials have declined to comment on but have assured USNI News and the public that answers would be found in the budget request. Read More
A T-45C Goshawk training aircraft assigned to Carrier Training Wing (CTW) 2 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) on Feb. 9, 2017. US Navy photo.
U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift will lead a 30-day review on “the facts, circumstances and processes surrounding the recent physiological episodes involving T-45 and F/A-18 aircrew,” the Navy announced today. Read More
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, Ariz. in March. Photo by Gage Skidmore
A change in military strategy “could dramatically change” what the military buys under the Trump Administration, a panel of budget and defense experts said today. Read More
FA-18A++ Hornets with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron(VMFA) 314, forward based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, are lined up on the flightline at Komatsu Air Base, Japan, during the Komatsu Aviation Training Relocation exercise March 7-18, 2016. US Marine Corps photo.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate and House armed services committees have agreed upon a compromise National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that prioritizes higher personnel and readiness levels over procurement of ships and aircraft. Read More
F-35C Lightning IIs, attached to the Grim Reapers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, and an F/A-18E/F Super Hornets attached to the Naval Aviation Warfighter Development Center (NAWDC) fly over Naval Air Station Fallon’s (NASF) Range Training Complex on Sept. 3, 2015. US Navy photo.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Navy has begun integrating its newest airplanes into the air wing and joint forces during training and finding that these platforms, including the EA-18G Growler and F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, are extending the range and increasing the sophistication of operations, the Navy’s Air Boss said. Read More
First flight of the F/A-18E/F Advanced Super Hornet with conformal fuel tanks and Enclosed Weapons Pod. Boeing Photo
The Navy has plans to boost its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler capabilities in the coming years to match an evolving threat, but plane manufacturer Boeing is still pushing for conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system and a new engine that the company says would add even more range and warfighting capability. Read More
The “Gunslingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105 conduct a flyover during their homecoming at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. on April 17, 2014. US Navy Photo
The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, laying out a spending plan that falls just short of a bill the House Armed Services Committee passed last month. Read More