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We need about $3,000,000 for additional tooling in overhaul and repair facilities.
Mr. SHEPPARD. Off the record. (Discussion off the record.)
DEFICIENCY IN NUMBER OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT Mr. SIKES. Mr. Chairman, I think we have had some very informative and valuable statements from the Secretary of the Navy and from Admiral Sherman.
I noted that both of them directed considerable emphasis, and this has further been brought out in subsequent testimony, to the shortage of aircraft.
The Secretary of the Navy said: In the aircraft procurement program this estimate contemplates replacing aircraft lost in operations in Korea as well as estimates of losses using these time attrition rates in all other areas, but does not provide modernization for the naval and Marine Corps Reserve aircraft, which I consider to be a serious deficiency.
Then Admiral Sherman said: The supplemental amount of $2,648,029,000 which has been recommended to the Congress provides for most (not all) of what is necessary to the Navy during the fiscal year 1951 for these increments.
We know that cuts in naval operating strength have had a very serious effect. I would like to have a clear picture of just what our naval aircraft situation now is. I would like to ask you gentlemen how many operating aircraft we actually have in the Navy now.
Admiral Cassady. We were authorized 6,233, and we are almost at that figure. This will bring us up by 1,102 to 7,335.
Mr. SIKES. How many of those are modern aircraft?
Admiral Cassady. A very small percentage of them, sir. For example, we would have had under this appropriation bill, with no supplemental, a deficiency of 990 combat aircraft to take care of merely our combatant forces.
Mr. SIKES. Prior to the Korean incident?
Admiral CASSADY. Prior to the Korean incident. Since that time we have increased our forces by three carrier air groups, seven patrol squadrons, and three antisubmarine squadrons. That would require an additional total of 668 aircraft.
Mr. SIKES. Are those additional aircraft needs?
Admiral CASSADY. We do not have them to equip those existing
Admiral CASSADY. That is for the present situation in Korea plus the general augmentation of Naval forces.
Mr. Sikes. How much would those aircraft cost?
Admiral Cassady. Would you want me to add up the total deficiency and give you the cost on that, or break it down?
Mr. SIKES. The total.
Admiral CASSADY. In addition to that, we have had another unexpected deficiency due to the attrition of aircraft from our forces committed in Korea.
(Further discussion off the record.)
We estimate it would take 1,300 first-line planes to adequately equip the Organized Reserve. You add those deficiencies and it gives a total deficiency of 2,832. The first supplemental provides 1,067 planes. Subtracting that from your total deficiency leaves a remaining deficiency of 1,765 planes, which we estimate will cost practically $1,300,000,000.
Admiral Pride and I feel that for practical reasons it would be best if we did not at this time procure a total of 1,765 planes. We feel that about 1,300 additional planes will be sufficient at this time tomodernize completely our combat units and also to modernize approximately one-half of our Organized Reserve.
Mr. SIKES. And that would cost in addition to what is in the bill? Admiral CASSADY. Additional, $950,000,000.
Mr. SIKES. Then in your belief the money that is contained in the request now before us actually would not provide for sufficient aircraft for present security and in addition permit the operation of the Korean campaign as it should be carried on?
Admiral CASSADY. It does not, sir.
Mr. SIKES. Would it permit the operation of the Korean campaign in a satisfactory way if you ignored the matter of security in other areas?
Admiral CASSADY. That would be accepting a calculated risk, in my opinion. I think the considerations are such that I would not be justified in recommending that we do any such thing.
Mr. SHEPPARD. You would merely be increasing the existing risk, would you not?
Admiral Cassady. That is correct.
Mr. ENGEL. Could you produce these additional planes with present facilities?
Admiral CASSADY. I would rather that Admiral Pride answer that.
Admiral PRIDE. Spread over the year, and some of them would go on into the following year.
Mr. SIKES. We do not think the Korean situation will last that long, so will you interpret that answer in view of your previous answer to me about the need for these planes for the Korean incident?
Admiral PRIDE. I would like to withdraw that answer. I have some figures here on that. We can get a certain number of them this year, in the fiscal year 1951. Contracts have already been let for aircraft included in the original 1951 program, and the aircraft contractors are now expanding production in order to accelerate delivery schedules. We have not included funds for aircraft which cannot be delivered within the same period of time planned in the original 1951 estimate.
Mr. TABER. How many does that make for 1951 delivery and how many for 1952?
Admiral PRIDE. I do not have my delivery schedule with me. I wonder if I could send that up later. I could give you the precise schedule.
Mr. TABER. I want the figures for 1952, 1953, and, if it goes beyond that, we ought to have that. If we are to embark upon a further program, we ought to have the delivery dates of those items presented to us so that we would know what we are talking about.
Admiral PRIDE. Yes.
Mr. SIKES. What you are telling us in part is there will be increased attrition of present operating aircraft as the result of the Korean campaign, and you are going to have a greater need for additional planes to replace and to modernize the operating air fleet than you would have had ordinarily; is that true?
Admiral CASSADY. That is correct.
As you will remember, Mr. Sikes, for the last several years we have never been able to procure enough aircraft to fully modei nize our approved operating forces, nor have we ever been able to provide first-line aircraft to the Organized Reserve.
Mr. Sikes. Under this bill will you be able to provide first-line aircraft to the Organized Reserve?
Admiral Cassady. No.
Mr. SIKES. You will be able to provide first-line aircraft to all the active reserves?
Admiral CassADY. For all that part which has an early mobilization combat commitment.
Mr. SIKES. Now, taking into consideration the Korean situation and requirements, what will be the percentage of modern aircraft under the bill as it is now before us? Just give me an estimate.
Admiral CASSADY. For the forces actually committed to Korea, I would say we would probably have 75 percent of first-line aircraft.
Mr. MAHON. I presume you probably do not want 100-percent first-line aircraft in Korea because you are preferring to use the reciprocating engines as well as the jets, believing that is the most efficient and effective over-all operation?
Admiral Cassady. That is correct, sir. (Discussion off the record.)
PERCENTAGE OF MODERNIZATION
Mr. SIKES. Let me go one or two steps further. If you get the additional $950,000,000, at the time of the delivery of those planes, what will be your percentage of modern planes in your operating air fleet?
Admiral CASSADY. 100 percent.
Admiral CASSADY. With the additional $950,000,000, minus a deficiency of 465 planes, or about 90 percent.
Mr. SĪKes. Which is really about as high a percentage as you would want?
Admiral CASSADY. At the present time, I feel that we would always have a use for a certain number of second-line planes, and we would never probably require complete 100 percent.
Mr. SIKES. But unless you continue a procurement program, then your percentage of obsolescent planes would again be increased?
Admiral CASSADY. That is correct.
Mr. Mahon. Would it not probably be an uncomplimentary commentary on the air arm of the Navy and the air arm of the Air Force if it should be said that your operating forces were 100 percent modern? That would indicate, despite the fact that sometimes it takes 2 or 3 years to construct a plane, that you had made no new models and had no new developments. It can never be 100 percent modern.
Admiral CASSADY. That is correct. The normal plane, after about 3 years of use, more or less becomes a second-hand plane, and I agree with you that you probably never would get any time 100 percent modernization.
PROCUREMENT OF RECIPROCATING ENGINE AIRCRAFT Mr. SIKES. In view of the fact that you have found the conventional type plane to be highly satisfactory for the Korean operation, are you acquiring any replacements of that type plane, or is all the money in this bill for the jet aircraft?
Admiral Cassady. Fortunately, Mr. Sikes, we have in storage 4,000 of the reciprocating type that we are now using in Korea. We estimate it will not be necessary to procure through new production any additional planes of those types.
Mr. SIKES. But what if future incidents similar to the Korean situation develop and we find we have gone a little too modern in our thinking and we find it is an expensive type of operation; that the reciprocating engine is actually more satisfactory and much more economical for operations of the Korean type, then where will we be?
Admiral CASSADY. We still have in production, and will continue for at least another year, the Chance-Vought F40-5N. That production line does not run out for another 12 months.
In addition, we are continuing in production the Douglas AD attack type. That is in itself quite an effective fighter-bomber.
In addition, we have the A-2-D Douglas, which has the new turboprop engine; so we feel that by the time our present stock of conventional reciprocating engines runs out--the World War II type planes—the A-2-D will be developed and we will have other types which will be much more effective.
Mr. SIKES. Actually, I fear the ground support that has been given by the Air Forces in Korea is going to prove possibly the most expensive air support ever given. I don't minimize the importance of air support. But heretofore planes have been fueled in Japan, flown to combat, stay over the target a few minutes, and are flown back to refuel again. The conventional type engine is much more economical and because of the lack of air opposition is fully adequate to the need thus far.
Mr. TABER. Is that true as far as the Navy is concerned?
Mr. SIKES. I am talking about the Air Force. I know that they are doing the best they can with what they have over there, but I think that we must recognize all the facts.
Mr. MAHON. The Air Force is not using the jet which has such a small amount of time over the combat area exclusively in the air operation.
Mr. SIKES. That is true. They are using both types. Now as I understand it, the bill you have before us will give you planes to carry on the Korean campaign and will do very little else?
Admiral CASSADY. That is correct.
Mr. SIKES. It could not do much, if anything, to alleviate the aggravated shortage of first-line planes which we have been pointing to for several years in the Navy?
Admiral CASSADY. That is correct, sir.
SUPPLY OF AIRCRAFT CARRIERS
Mr. SIKES. Now, how many aircraft carriers were you operating prior to the Korean situation?
Admiral CASSADY. We were operating seven.
Mr. SIKES. You can put me on the record as stating that there is a serious deficiency in the number of aircraft carriers now operating, both from the standpoint of successful operation in Korea, and from the standpoint of our national security.
I hope the services will take into consideration the size of the overall task and take more carriers out of mothballs. I do understand we have the carriers in mothballs and that they can be put speedily into operation?
Admiral CASSADY. Yes.
Mr. Mahon. If this program as proposed here in the supplemental budget is completed how many carriers will be put into operation in the active fleet?
Admiral Cassady. Nine large carriers; 10 small carriers, plus one small carrier reduced in commission for training, plus three transport carriers.
(Off record discussion.)
NEED FOR INDEPENDENT OPINIONS OF WITNESSES BEFORE THE
Mr. NORRELL. I voted for construction of the big carrier, and if the Navy thinks it should have it now, I am ready to vote for it again. I want the admiral who is in charge of determining what the Navy needs to have that responsibility, and I want the general in the Army as well as the Marine Corps to tell us what they think. This statement applies to the other services. Congress in the final analysis can decide what should be done. We should have the benefit of these expert opinions though.
Mr. SHEPPARD. May I suggest, as long as we are discussing that, that in order to literally achieve what the gentleman is suggesting, with which I heartily concur, we will have to amend the National Security Act.
(Off record discussion.)