After 37 years of service, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we are and where I think we are headed with Marine Aviation by focusing on my three priorities: readiness, recapitalization and people.
Readiness - In 2014, we were experiencing an enterprise-wide decrease in readiness. Our immediate goal was to conduct a root cause analysis to identify the causes of this degradation. We chose to conduct a series of Independent Readiness Reviews (IRR) which are comprehensive examinations of all factors that impact both aircraft and personnel readiness. We have completed five IRRs to date on the AV-8B, CH-53E, MV-22, H-1 and ground safety and are in the midst of the sixth IRR which is for the F/A- 18. These reviews have been instrumental in the design of our readiness recovery strategy.
A key finding common to all of these reviews emphasized the importance of retaining highly qualified enlisted maintainers – trained properly and provided to the fleet in the correct density. Each report discovered a lack of Marines possessing the requisite skills our ready force demands, causing us to reestablish and increase our benchmarks. This is less an issue of individual capability and is more strictly related to density of personnel. Fixing the problem requires both tracking the qualifications and retention of these enlisted maintenance leaders. In order to facilitate change, we have added specific military occupational specialties to our official manpower tracking databases and offered a retention bonus to Marines with critical maintenance qualifications.
We are currently on track with our Super Stallion readiness recovery reset. We have inducted 21 CH- 53Es into the organizational-level maintenance process so far, and six of those aircraft have been reset and returned to the fleet. By the end of this calendar year we will have completed 17 reset aircraft. To date, we have flown approximately 800 hours on the reset aircraft and they are maintain the highest readiness rates in the CH-53Es fleet. This reset process is breathing new life and reliability into the 53E fleet, extending the viability of our heavy lift fleet until the 53K arrives. We anticipate CH-53E Super Stallions to be reset in the next three to four years.
Efforts from the past two years have put the Marine Corps' AV-8B Harrier fleet in a much better place, and they are flying more. Since the completing the IRR, we have seen a 26% increase in pilot hours per month, and a 23% increase in squadron Ready Basic Aircraft. From the outcome of the V-22 IRR, we found that we needed to have one configuration of the Osprey. Right now we have about 77. We have a plan laid out to tackle that issue along with others to maintain a strong and successful life for our Osprey fleet. The Osprey is our most in-demand aircraft as it continues to transform the way the Marine Corps conducts assault support, support to a variety of MAGTF missions, and humanitarian relief operations.
Recapitalization - At this point we are a more than one-third complete with the transition of every tactical platform in our inventory. Our plan recapitalizes current squadrons with transformational technologies - 5th generation STOVL strike fighters, tiltrotor technology, advanced heavy lift helicopters, and modernized amphibious based Group 3 and Group 5 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MUX). In 2015, we declared the F-35B Lightning II operational and now we have four squadrons – Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), VMFA-211, VMFAT-501 and VMX-1. VMFA-121 is now permanently stationed in Japan. In 2016, we executed our first RQ-21 deployment in support of a Marine