The United States is touted as one of the most powerful countries when it comes to defense capabilities, however, the recent US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Weapons Systems Sustainment Report has become a hot topic. concern. In the report, the GAO claimed that after a review of 49 US combat aircraft, it was found that only “four (combat aircraft) met their annual mission capability goal in the majority of years, from l fiscal year 2011 to 2021”.
Mission Capability Rate is the percentage of the total time the aircraft can fly and complete at least one mission. The rate is used to assess the health and readiness of an aircraft fleet. Speaking on the report, a program official added: “These challenges are affecting mission capability rates.”
The GAO report also claimed that from 2011 to 2021, the average rate of mission-capable aircraft dropped for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The numbers worsen for the year 2021. The GAO also claimed that in 2021, only two of the 49 aircraft reviewed met the mission capability goal set by the service. The report claimed operating and support costs were approximately $54 billion in 2020, down $1.2 billion from fiscal year 2011. The report also stated that the aircraft cost cheaper to operate because they spent more time on the ground.
What is the weapon system sustainment ratio?
According to the GAO, the Department of Defense (DOD) spends “tens of billions of dollars a year to maintain its weapons systems.” The GAO initiated this work in response to “continued interest in the operational readiness and costs of major weapons systems”. The report shows that many selected aircraft are facing “one or more sustainment challenges”. The report comes in response to a provision of Section 802 of the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act of 2021. According to the GAO, the report came after reviewing documentation and interviewing program officials to identify challenges in sustaining the aircraft. The bureau said that in addition to this report, the GAO plans to release other reports in this regard.
The report concluded that the average flight readiness rate has declined over the past decade for all Army divisions except the Army, leaving only two of 49 mission-capable aircraft types. from 2021.