USMC’s CH-53 fleet is in bad shape

An independent study sanctioned by the U.S. Marine Corps on its CH-53E fleet found it worn out and in need of serious attention.

Flickr - Official U.S. Navy Imagery - A CH-53 takes off from USS New York.
By Official Navy Page from United States of America MC2 Ecklund/U.S. Navy (A CH-53 takes off from USS New York.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The report, which has not been released to the public, said the service has only 146 serviceable CH-53s. If they are required to fight a war today, nearly all of them have to be deployed to meet demands.

However, the fleet has a readiness rate of only 23 percent as a decade of combat operations had worn out the fleet and defense budget cuts lead to parts shortages.

With so few serviceable aircraft, pilots and aircrew are not getting the level of training required to be proficient.

Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, in an interview with The Pilot that many of the issues were traced to the way the aircraft were restored after their deployment to Afghanistan.

While the Army spent about $1.2 million restoring each helicopter from Afghanistan, the Marines could only cough up about $100,000 per aircraft for the drawdown.

Plans to restore each helicopter to “full-mission-capable status” over the next three years has been outlined in the service’s latest annual aviation plan.

Comments are closed.