The world is awash in change. A return to great power competition, increasingly aggressive actions from international competitors, flat defense budgets, and even coronavirus conspire to challenge the United States’ place in the world. Against this backdrop, the Department of the Navy—and naval aviation—are taking bold steps to ensure the past two years of readiness and lethality gains are preserved in 2020 and beyond.
In 2019, the newly created Naval Sustainment System resulted in an 80 percent mission-capable status for aviation assets for the first time in years, putting more planes back in the air. In a significant victory for aviation safety, the Navy’s Physiological Episodes Assessment Team used data analysis and predictive analytics to definitively diagnose and begin implementing mitigations to persistent physiological issues plaguing its T-45, F/A-18, and EA-18G communities. Numerous first-in-class platforms—including the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the CMV-22B carrier onboard delivery aircraft, F-35B/C fighter aircraft, and unmanned vehicles—continued to reach major program milestones.