The Navy is considering canceling all remaining 2019 shows for its F/A-18 Super Hornet Demonstration Team, the service revealed on Thursday.
But officials were quick to say that no decisions have been made and insisted that Naval Aviation is at its highest readiness levels in more than a decade and all deploying squadrons are ready to fight.
“We constantly look for ways to deliver on that, and we continue to consider specific steps to best manage our resources and our costs,” according to a prepared statement issued Thursday afternoon by Naval Air Forces.
The internal deliberations within the Navy were revealed by mistake on the official U.S. Navy Tac Demo Facebook page. It erroneously announced that the Naval Air Station Oceana-based Gladiators of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 will cease flying in shows immediately to concentrate resources on the primary mission of training future pilots.
“As the East Coast Super Hornet Fleet Replacement Squadron, the mission of VFA-106 is to provide the fleet with superbly trained replacement aircrew to support fleet readiness,” the team said in a post that was later removed.
“This mission will always take priority over displaying the remarkable Super Hornet across the country. While unfortunate, the remainder of the TACDEMO schedule for 2019 has been cancelled. Our dedicated, volunteer, air crew and maintainers must focus their efforts on training the next generation of Super Hornet aviators and flight officers.”
Officials on Thursday told Navy Times that all of these discussions have yet to spark a final decision.
The Navy also will continue operating its Legacy Flight program as scheduled. That means that the Flying Eagles of VFA-122 will “fly the rest of their season schedule,” according to the announcement.
Additional units participating in Legacy Flights will continue operating T-45 Goshawks, T-6 Texan IIs, and E/A-18G Growlers, according to Airshow Stuff.
The VFA-106 demonstration that could be canceled include:
- Traverse City, Michigan
- Toledo, Ohio
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Cleveland, Ohio
- NAS Oceana, Virginia
Navy Times editor’s note: The original story has been altered to reflect that the unit’s official Facebook page was in error and no final decision has been made about canceling all or some of the Super Hornet demonstration events.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.