Naval Air: February 7, 2001

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The navy is out of ammunition. Despite the $300 billion dollar a year defense budget, there are shortages throughout the fleet. While the exact numbers are classified, information from frustrated sailors and officers indicates that less than half the navy warplanes equipped to use smart bombs can be equipped with them if war comes. And after that one mission, everyone is back to using World War II era "dumb bombs." The shortage has been around for some time, and it has a bad effect on training. With so few smart bombs available, few are used for training. So when combat does arrive, the aviators will not only have very few of these precision bombs, but they will also lack much experience using them. There are also shortages for the five inch guns most warships are equipped with, as well small arms the crews. Also in short supply are the tools and instruments used to maintain and repair all the electronics on board. So when a ship comes back to port, it often has to transfer much of its maintenance gear to another ship leaving on a long cruise. The navy says it needs at least a billion dollars to remedy it's ammunition shortage. 

 


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