An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Grim Reapers of VFA-101 launches from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). U.S. Marine Corps photo.
Naval aviation benefits greatly from several significant changes during the past year, namely the increased funding and strategic direction required to rebuild readiness following nearly a decade of belt tightening. In mid-2017, Congress provided supplemental funding to the military to begin rebuilding readiness by increasing flight hours, buying additional airframes, increasing depot-level maintenance throughput, and filling critical munitions shortfalls. This trend continued when the 2018 federal budget was passed in March. The largest increase in recent history, the 2018 defense budget gets at one of the perennial sore spots—aircraft availability—by providing additional funding for manpower and depot throughput. This will result in more aircraft in the air and more sailors available on the flight line.