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US could lose major defense vessels, jets in tension with China

The U.S. Navy and aircraft maker Boeing are in a dispute over data rights Boeing says it needs in the event of a conflict between China and Taiwan.
U.S. Navy MH-60S Hawk helicopter, and F-18 Super Hornets.
Posted at 9:26 PM, Jul 06, 2023

The U.S. Navy expects to only receive 16 F/A-18 Super Hornet jets out of the 20 that were appropriated to go to the military, according to Rep. Mike Garcia of California. 

Garcia is a former Super Hornet pilot and member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. He told Politico the shortfall is because of a fight between the Navy and Boeing over intellectual property rights, which is delaying negotiations. 

During the 2022 fiscal year Congress allocated funds for 12 Super Hornet jets, and then allocated for eight more in the 2023 fiscal year, even though the Navy reportedly didn't request them. 

In what was described as a last-minute attempt to win data rights supposedly needed to service the jets in the event of a conflict between China and Taiwan, a dispute between the Navy and Boeing began.

The Navy said it is waiting on Boeing to submit another proposal for the 20 jets.

"Had the secretary of the Navy awarded this contract two years ago, Boeing would have been on the hook for that — Boeing would have eaten the inflation cost," Garcia told Politico. 

Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Javan Rasnake said, "The request for proposal is clear that it requires Boeing and its suppliers to deliver … all the technical data necessary for our sailors and civil servants to operate, maintain, and sustain those aircraft in the Fleet in peacetime as well as in a contested logistics environment."

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Not the first challenge the Navy sees in preparations for a possible conflict

In January, a Forbes report detailed how the U.S. Navy found itself in a predicament after its fleet of 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers did not perform well during a series of war games that were meant to simulate how it might respond amid a hypothetical invasion of Taiwan by China in 2026. 

The practice, organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., ended with the loss of at least two aircraft carriers. 

The war games were meant to help form predictions on how well the military would perform, but the service came away expecting to possibly lose as many as four carriers in the event of war.