Flying Hours for U.S. Air Forces in Europe Exceeded Logistical Support Capability and Reduced Reported Readiness

C-NSIAD-85-1: Published: Jan 8, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 8, 1985.

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GAO evaluated the readiness of the U.S. Air Forces, Europe's (USAFE) conventional tactical fighter units to perform their assigned missions and assessed actions or plans to correct any readiness deficiencies.

GAO found that, despite new and more capable aircraft, additional operational and maintenance funding, and increased combat capability, Air Force readiness has dropped substantially. The readiness deficiencies are due to a lack of needed equipment and supplies caused by increased inventory requirements, changes in the readiness reporting criteria, and increased inventory demand. GAO found that the increased inventory demand was caused by increases in aircraft flying hours which exceeded the command's maintenance capability. Furthermore, the Air Force failed to readjust its flying hours program when estimated supply needs were not fully funded, and USAFE fully executed its fiscal year 1982 and 1983 flying hour program. To support the increased flying hours, maintenance units deferred maintenance training, and problems were experienced in the quality of flight line maintenance. In addition, supply shortages reduced the Air Force's reported readiness due to a greater spare parts consumption resulting from increased flying hours. Finally, war reserve stock withdrawals and aircraft cannibalization increased steadily. Concern about the effects of the flying hour increases has caused the Air Force to reduce planned increases in flying hours.

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