3 of 3 people found this helpful
That's quite a question, and as you noted, answers are hard to come by. Part of the reason is that operational statistics tended to focus on the carrier, the air wing, or the squadron in terms of how many sorties were flown and how much ordnance was expended. Individual accounts may provide better answers based off of personal flight logs, but those accounts that cover entire deployments tend to be difficult to find--it is more usual to read experiences based upon a single eventful mission. I did find an individual experience on Quora which probably gave the best answer.
In this response, a former naval aviator named John Chesire described his life in an F-4 Phantom squadron. He had a 2 1/2 year tour in a VF squadron, during which he made two Westpac deployments. The deployments covered 8 months and 11 months respectively. During the deployments, he flew nearly every day and sometimes twice a day 6 days a week.
Breaking those basic number down I figure that over an 8 month deployment (taking 3 weeks off each end for transit time and a couple of weeks for deployment breaks at Subic Bay or Hong Kong) it amounts to perhaps 150 combat days. Since each squadron had a couple of spare aircrew, a pilot/NFO may not have flown every day. However, I think it is safe to say that naval aviators in the fighter (VF) and attack (VA) communities probably had 130-140 combat missions under their belts by the end of a deployment. Add to that number practice missions and proficiency flights, a naval aviator may have 150 sorties or more during any average deployment--just my guess.
Thank you. This is helpful.