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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Navy deals with shortage of fighter jets

F/A-18 HornetThe Navy’s fighter jet fleet has been flown hard during nearly 15 years of conflict in the Middle East. And with the next generation fighter years from being operational, the service’s F/A-18 Super Hornets and legacy Hornets must continue flying far longer than originally planned.

The result: Too many jets are down for service-extending upgrades, and not enough are ready to fly. For now, Navy leaders say they can manage the shortfall of flyable jets by ramping up maintenance and putting extra flight hours on the airplanes that aren’t down for repairs.

Residents around Oceana Naval Air Station likely haven’t noticed a difference: With multiple air wings here preparing for upcoming deployments, there’s been no reduction of window-rattling practice flights over Virginia Beach.

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