In a week during which five military crashes killed seven service members, an article in the current issue of Newsweek raises questions about funding, training and maintenance in U.S. military aviation units. “The number of service members killed in noncombat aviation was 37 in 2017—almost double the 19 who died in 2016,” the piece states. “If 2018’s rate of accidents continues, this year could be higher still.”
A Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II jet crashed this week in Djibouti and a Super Stallion crashed in California the same day. On Wednesday of this week an Air Force Thunderbird F16 crashed near Las Vegas and a CH-53 helicopter suffered structural damage in Djibouti. In March, an HH-60 Pave Hawk in western Iraq and an F/A-18 near Key West, Florida crashed. Just yesterday, Friday, April 6, 2018, an AH-64E Apache helicopter conducting routine training crashed in the local training area of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, killing two.
“Defense Secretary James Mattis has warned that funding cuts are affecting the number of flight hours, maintenance and overall training available for U.S. troops,” the story says. According to the piece the Pentagon says the accidents are not related and denied there is a crisis but that things aren’t “normal.”
Read the Newsweek article here.