Air Force flying hour cuts hit Misawa
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Misawa's 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons will have a few less flying hours to work with this fiscal year as a result of the cuts to the U.S. Air Force's operations and maintenance account. This means units across the Air Force will fly approximately 45,000 fewer training hours between now and Oct. 1 than previously scheduled, with some even standing down.
Sequestration and flying hour reductions are having an impact on 35th Fighter Wing; however, Misawa personnel are working to mitigate the issues and no units have been directed to stand-down.
Misawa's Fighter Squadrons will maintain one of two levels of readiness. The high level is Combat Mission Ready (CMR), which means the individual has completed the amount of various types of training needed to be considered qualified and proficient in all aspects of the unit's combat mission. The lower level is Basic Mission Capable (BMC), which equates to the minimum level of training required to make the individual qualified in some aspects of the unit mission.
Maintaining BMC allows an aviator to "spin up" to CMR with the minimum amount of additional training and associated expense. The number and duration of training activities necessary to be rated CMR varies depending on each pilot's currency in different aspects of the mission.
Air Combat Command, as the Air Force's lead for Combat Air Forces, manages the flying-hour programs for four major commands. This decision to stand down or curtail operations affects about one-third of the active-duty CAF aircraft--including those assigned to fighter, bomber, aggressor and airborne warning and control squadrons--stationed in the United States, Europe and the Pacific.
"We must implement a tiered readiness concept where only the units preparing to deploy in support of major operations like Afghanistan are fully mission capable," said Gen. Mike Hostage, ACC commander. "This will have a significant and multi-year impact on our operational readiness. But right now, there is no other acceptable way to implement these cuts."