The US Navy may be training its new pilots in US Air Force trainers after faulty systems and delays have grounded their T-45 trainer fleet for nearly two months.
With the T-45 Goshawk fleet grounded to rookie “nuggets” due to faulty oxygen systems, the Navy has been forced to look for alternatives to solve their training woes.
“We have considered using other aircraft, potentially Air Force,” Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, commander of Naval Air Systems Command, told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
While the 197 T-45s have been declared unsafe for new pilots to fly on training missions, experienced instructors have been permitted to take to the skies -with modified oxygen masks- in order to maintain currency.
Alternatives have been considered to fill the gap left by the T-45’s absence, including pushing flight operations training to later stages of the training program (putting the rookie pilots in F/A-18s that they would eventually end up in) or seeking help from the branch’s only fixed-wing rival, the US Air Force.
“I don’t think we’ve talked to the Air Force about that,” he said. “But one of the key things we get out of T-45s is taking our new aviators, our new student aviators to the ship, which we can only do right now in the T-45 or in their next fleet aircraft.”
According to Military.com, the Navy is still trying to figure out what went wrong with cockpit oxygen systems and are considering either installing better warning systems or replacing the current oxygen systems be replaced altogether.
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