The US Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet strike fighters are the tip of the spear, embodying most of the fierce striking power of the aircraft carrier strike group. But nearly two-thirds of the fleet’s strike fighters can’t fly – grounded because they’re either undergoing maintenance or simply waiting for parts or their turn the aviation depot backlog.
Overall, more than half the Navy’s aircraft are grounded, most because there isn’t enough money to fix them.
With only one or two carriers forward deployed at any one time, having the air wings (we keep one fewer than the carriers themselves, if memory serves me) mostly geared to active carriers only makes this less than critical during peacetime.
But if we must fight a war, it would be a huge problem.
If we had to surge carriers--or even just the air wings to operate from land bases--we couldn't do it.
But on paper we have three times as many as combat jets in the fleet.