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FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips – Week of June 20, 2016

Below and attached are the COMFRC/AIR-6.0 clips for the week of June 20:

 

LOCAL COVERAGE

COMFRC celebrates Sohl’s legacy; welcomes new commander

FRCSE establishes capability to repair eye-safe laser rangefinders

PHOTO RELEASE: New center provides resources to veterans

PHOTO RELEASE: Readiness and sustainment the topics at commanding officers and executive officers face-to-face meeting

FRC East participates in eastern N.C. joint STEM initiative

Navy Will 3-D Print Critical Parts For Marine Rotorcraft By 2017

 

WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

U.S. Navy chief warns of costlier Boeing jets if no foreign sales

Military aircraft accidents costing lives, billions of dollars

Pentagon’s Renewed Vow to Build 2,443 F-35s Depends on Budgets

Marine Corps forced to pull warbirds out of ‘boneyard’ after new fleet delay

U.S. Navy Struggling With Readiness

Defense Rolls Out Phased Retirement For Civilian Employees

US Lawmakers Set to Reconcile Defense Policy Bills

 

 

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LOCAL COVERAGE

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COMFRC celebrates Sohl’s legacy; welcomes new commander

(NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, 16 Jun 16). COMFRC Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – It is not prescribed specifically by U.S. Navy regulations, but it is one of the Navy’s oldest traditions: the Change of Command ceremony.

 

Nearly 400 guests gathered June 16 in the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School hangar to honor and to bid farewell to Rear Adm. Paul “LJ” Sohl, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC), as he handed over the helm to Vice Commander Capt. Mike Zarkowski.

 

Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, served as the presiding official and credited Sohl with maturing the focus and internal structure of COMFRC and the eight Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs).

 

Sohl “has made a tremendous, positive impact and will leave a lasting legacy of commitment to his people of the FRC enterprise and to the fleet,” Grosklags said.

 

Grosklags, who eight years ago led COMFRC, congratulated Zarkowski on assuming command. “I have complete confidence in your leadership and ability to keep this command moving forward.”

 

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces and Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet provided remarks as the guest speaker.

 

“The FRCs clearly play an absolutely critical role to recover readiness across the force and to improve the way we continue to generate that readiness,” Shoemaker stated. “LJ, thank you for the ongoing work to deliver your FRC Vision 2020, which I am confident will give us a more streamlined, agile and responsive organization in the future.”

 

Sohl came on board at COMFRC in August 2013 facing the challenges of budget shortfalls, sequestration and a high operating tempo. To combat those challenges and optimize capability and capacity, Vision 2020 — the strategic plan for regaining readiness across naval aviation — was implemented. The ultimate achievement of Vision 2020 will be the inception of a global maintenance management system. The system will recognize a failing aircraft as soon as it happens and parts, materials, artisan, equipment, testing can be moved to the aircraft to fix it in real time.

 

In a message to the FRC workforce, Sohl emphasized the need to keep focused on the mission:

 

“Your jobs are crucial to naval aviation readiness,” Sohl said. “Without you, nothing happens. We need your skill sets to help continue deploying our assets worldwide and keep our missions growing. Thanks for what you do each and every day. You are making a difference to our fleet.”

 

In his remarks to the audience, Zarkowski stressed that even though this is a time of transition, the mission of COMFRC remains the same: to provide aircraft ready for tasking.

 

“We have complex challenges we must continue to address,” Zarkowski said. “We must continue to commit the necessary resources to stay the course with Vision 2020. With this Vision, the naval aviation force of the future will be able to quickly adapt to emergent maintenance requirements and the Fleet Readiness Centers will be faster, more agile, more geographically independent and cost less.”

 

Notable COMFRC accomplishments under Sohl include:

.               Leadership of 16,000 civilian, military and contractor personnel at eight Fleet Readiness Centers and management of a budget of $4.3 billion in maintenance, repair and overhaul.

.               With a total of 8,483,281 labor force hours and $1.16 billion in cost, his emphasis on process improvement and maintenance integration resulted in the delivery of 1,434 airframes, 4,294 engines and modules, 155,255 components, 2,151 pieces of support equipment and 9,060 airframe in-service repairs, which achieved a 35 percent reduction in backorders from fiscal year 2014 to 2015 and improved weapon system availability for eight Type/Model aircraft.

.               His involvement in the Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Aviation Rapid Action Team ensured the development and improvement of more than 100 repair processes, enhanced Fleet Readiness Center capabilities and resulted in $13.1 million in cost avoidance while improving readiness and lowering cost per flight hours.

 

The Waterloo, Iowa, native earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master’s in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom, tallying over 3,200 flight hours in 30 different aircraft.

 

In August, Sohl is slated to become Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

The Navy’s eight Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs), with locations on the U.S. east and west coasts and in Japan, conduct maintenance, repair, and overhaul of U.S. Navy aircraft, engines, components and support equipment. Each year, roughly 6,500 Sailors and Marines, along with more than 9,500 depot artisans at the FRCs overhaul and repair nearly 1,000 aircraft, thousands of engines and several hundred thousand components valued at over $4 billion.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6293

 

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FRCSE establishes capability to repair eye-safe laser rangefinders

(FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHEAST, JACKSONVILLE, Fla. 23 Jun 2016). FRCSE Public Affairs

 

Jacksonville, Fla. – Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 17 to officially establish a partnership with L-3 Warrior Systems – ALST to provide depot-level support services for U.S. Navy H-60 helicopter eye-safe laser rangefinders (ELRFs).

 

ELRFs are electro-optical instruments that combine binocular observation and distant measuring to determine target ranges. They are designed to protect the eye-sight of service members working and training in the field.

 

The joint collaboration allows FRCSE technicians to repair and test ELRFs for the helicopter’s Multi-Sensor Targeting Systems (MTS) using state-of-the-art test equipment and information technology. These systems or turrets, provide pilots with long-range surveillance, high-altitude targeting, tracking, range-finding and lasers.

 

“This partnership provides an opportunity for FRCSE and L-3 Warrior Systems – ALST Orlando to have a teaming agreement to assist with getting MTS repair units back to the field as soon as possible,” said L-3 Warrior Systems – ALST Customer Service Team Program Manager Mark Orr. “FRCSE provides a second source to increase and improve the turnaround time of lasers to ensure the end goal of returning the unit to the warfighter.”

 

The company is also providing continued support services, training and supply chain systems needed to maintain ELRFs in the fleet.

 

“It’s a continuation of growth with our partnerships in terms of standing up organic capability at the depot,” added FRCSE Integrated Product Team Lead for Avionics Components Sammie Kimble. “The ELRF is one of the newer lasers that’s been developed. It is eye safe friendly and won’t damage the eye-sight of the soldiers on the field.

 

“This partnership continues to give us the capability to support the MTS turret. And it helps FRCSE advance our continued efforts to be an electro-optics center of excellence for the Navy.”

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6300

 

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PHOTO RELEASE: New center provides resources to veterans

(NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, 22 Jun 16). COMFRC Public Affairs

 

Rear Adm. Paul Sohl, then-Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC), addresses the crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting of the new Three Oaks Center, Lexington Park, Maryland, for veterans. Sohl praised the staff and supporters of the center for their hard work and dedication to helping homeless veterans obtain medical and employment resources locally, instead of traveling to Baltimore or Washington, D.C. The center — which went from concept to ribbon cutting in 15 months, according to board member Patti Brady — will provide resources to help end or prevent homelessness and will guide veterans through the process toward the goal of self-sufficiency.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6299

 

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PHOTO RELEASE: Readiness and sustainment the topics at commanding officers and executive officers face-to-face meeting

(NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, 22 Jun 16). COMFRC Public Affairs

 

FLEET READINESS CENTER AVIATION SUPPORT EQUIPMENT, SOLOMONS, Md. – Rear Adm. Paul Sohl (standing), then-Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC), addressed the commanding officers and executive officers of the eight Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs) during the organization’s quarterly Face-to-Face meeting June 14 in Solomons here. Sohl praised the officers for their work to meet the mission of COMFRC: to produce quality airframes, engines, components and support equipment and provide service that meet the Naval Aviation Enterprise’s aircraft ready-for-tasking goals with improved effectiveness and efficiency.

 

He urged them to continue their work to support Vision 2020 — the strategic plan for regaining readiness across naval aviation — under the leadership of Capt. Mike Zarkowski, who assumed the helm of COMFRC on June 16.

 

In other meeting sessions, the team shared lessons learned and best practices for impacts to production, work force allocations, component repairs and implementation and current status of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM).

 

COMFRC Face-to-Face meetings are held regularly on a rotating basis at one of the FRCs or their associated detachments.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6298

 

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FRC East participates in eastern N.C. joint STEM initiative

(FLEET READINESS CENTER EAST, 20 June 16) . Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NC – June 20, 2016: Fleet Readiness Center East will host four teachers from Carteret and Craven County Schools as part of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education’s Teachers@Work program during July.

 

Teachers@Work is a joint partnership initiative between NCBCE, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) East and the N.C. Community College System that links education to the business community to help teachers create classroom curriculum relevant to the skill sets needed by local businesses.

 

According to Sue Breckenridge, NCBCE executive director, Teachers@Work helps to address the skills gap that many of the state’s businesses are currently seeing. “Ultimately, the initiative is about economic development and helping to produce a highly skilled workforce pipeline that benefits communities across the state,” she said.

 

FRC East is one of 14 businesses participating in the initiative in eastern N.C. As part of the program, participating teachers will spend one week during the summer monitoring a local company. Teachers will be paired with employees and will be exposed to different aspects of the business. At the end of the on-site program, the teacher will create a lesson plan that targets hard and soft skills future employees should have that are specific to their partnering business or industry. As a follow-on effort, partnering teachers’ students will participate in a job shadowing or mentoring program during the upcoming school year.

 

FRC East will first host Dawn Maynard, STEM teacher, and Aubrey Godette, Science teacher,  from Broad Creek Middle in Carteret County  July 11-15. The following week, July 18-22, the organization will host Michelle Smith, STEM teacher, and Elizabeth Dorsett, Math teacher, from Tucker Creek of Craven County Schools. They will be among 51 middle and high school teachers throughout the state who will be participating in the program.

 

“This is our first year as a business participant in the Teachers@Work initiative,” said Mark Meno, Research and Engineering Group head. “While we are actively engaged in a number of STEM K-12 outreach activities, this program affords us and the teachers a unique opportunity to incorporate the skills necessary in a STEM-based business environment into classroom curricula. We anticipate great benefits for this collaboration for our facility and the surrounding counties from which we draw our STEM workforce.”

 

The teacher will be working with engineering professionals to develop curriculum that has a design and development component requiring trade-offs in design, cost and performance, including collaboration in fabrication of the student designs and culminating with a final design review conducted by FRC East Engineering leaders.

 

Media can contact FRC East Corporate Communications Division for information about the organization’s participation in the program at (252) 464-9111.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6296

 

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Navy Will 3-D Print Critical Parts For Marine Rotorcraft By 2017

(DOD BUZZ 20 JUN 16) … Hope Hodge Seck

 

Next year, six “safety-critical” parts on a number of the Marine Corps’ most in-demand rotorcraft will be 3-D printed as the Navy demonstrates the value of cutting-edge additive manufacturing technology.

 

In a Naval Aviation Vision roadmap document released this month, Naval Air Systems Command officials said they planned to 3-D print and field parts for the MV-22B Osprey, the new CH-53K King Stallion, which is still in the early phases of production, and the H-1 Marine Corps Light/Attack Helicopters, including the AH-1Z Viper.

“The safety-critical [additive manufacturing] parts fielded on these platforms will allow NAVAIR to develop the processes and digital data standards needed to extend [additive manufacturing] to other classes of parts and components,” officials said in the document.

 

Two metal parts will be printed for each of the three aircraft platforms, Marcia Hart, a spokeswoman for Navy Aviation Enterprise, told Military.com. They are as follows:

.               MV-22 Osprey: Titanium engine nacelle link and stainless steel lever for the fire extinguishing system

.               H-1 helicopters: Upper uni-ball suppressor support and engine mount apex fitting, both stainless steel

.               CH-53K King Stallion: Clevis latch and lug latch, both titanium

 

In a second set of planned demonstrations, parts will also be printed for the Marines’ workhorse CH-53E Super Stallions and AV-8B Harriers, said Hart. The parts to be manufactured and fielded in that demonstration for the Super Stallion include a titanium engine brace and a ball fitting in stainless steel, she said.

 

The Navy is partnering with Penn State Applied Research Lab for the additive manufacturing demos, Hart said. The parts for the aircraft were produced there and at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

 

“As we develop our standards and understand how to ensure quality using [additive manufacturing] processes, we want to work with industry to enable them to make these parts,” Hart said. “We need to develop a broad industry base that understands how to make [them] safely.”

 

Ultimately, the Navy aims to use additive manufacturing processes much more in aviation, allowing maintainers and logisticians more flexibility in the repair and upkeep of aircraft. Already, according to the aviation roadmap, 3-D printing has allowed the Navy to

 

In June 2014, NAVAIR technicians in Jacksonville, Florida, used 3-D printed tools to fix a Harrier that damaged the frame of its nose cone during a hard landing on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan. Thanks to this technology, replacement parts were delivered to the aircraft within seven days, according to the roadmap document.

 

In another example, technicians at the Navy Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst were able to 3-D print a custom wrench that allowed them to change the oil on an H-60 Seahawk helicopter without removing the transmission, an improvement that saved 80 work hours for each oil change.

 

The new technology, officials said in the document, allows the Navy to “stock the data, not the part,” reducing supply timelines, enabling faster maintenance and repairs and reducing packaging, handling, storage and transportation costs.

 

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2016/06/20/navy-will-3-d-print-critical-parts-for-marine-rotocraft-by-2017/

 

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WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

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U.S. Navy chief warns of costlier Boeing jets if no foreign sales

(REUTERS, 19 June 16) . Andrea Shalal

 

BERLIN — The U.S. could see the cost of new Boeing Co F/A-18E/F Super Hornets rise unless the government approves foreign sales of the jets soon, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Sunday.

 

Mabus, in Germany for a NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea, told Reuters he was frustrated by delays in approving the sale of the Boeing jets to a close U.S. ally, warning that this could affect the cost of jets the U.S. Navy still wants to buy.

 

U.S. Navy and other defense officials have said they support the sale of 28 Boeing F/A-18E/F jets to Kuwait for an estimated cost of $3 billion, but this has stalled for nearly a year pending final White House approval.

 

Mabus said the delays could have an impact on the Navy’s budget plans, since the foreign order was needed to augment U.S. Navy purchases and keep the production line running efficiently.

 

The U.S. Congress is expected to approve funding for as many as 16 Boeing F/A-18 jets as part of the Navy’s budget request for fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1, but that would give Boeing less than the two jets a month it says needs for economical production. The Kuwaiti order would have filled this gap.

 

“I’m frustrated. A lot of people are frustrated,” Mabus said. “The process is too long, too onerous in terms of getting weapons systems to our friends and to our allies.”

 

Mabus said Boeing could likely continue F/A-18 production for some time without the foreign sales, but dropping below optimal production rates could affect future pricing.

 

The Navy had requested funding for two F/A-18 jets in its fiscal 2017 budget request and 14 more as part of its “unfunded priorities list”. It also said it expected to buy a larger number of Super Hornets in fiscal 2018 to bridge a gap in its fleet until the newer and more advanced Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet enters service in coming years.

 

Mabus welcomed possible moves by Congress to add jets to the fiscal 2017 budget, but said those orders alone would not keep production at the Boeing facility running at optimal rates.

 

“The line wouldn’t be operating as well as it should, and the price probably would go up for us because there aren’t as many planes coming through,” he said.

 

Boeing welcomed the secretary’s remarks.

 

“Boeing appreciates the continuing engagement of Secretary Mabus, and agrees that a Kuwaiti order is an important element in continuing a production rate of two per month to keep prices optimal,” Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson said.

 

The company needs to maintain production to remain competitive in bidding for other F/A-18 orders from other countries as it is now spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” to buy long-lead materials such as titanium to prepare for new orders from the Navy and Kuwait.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-boeing-fighters-idUSKCN0Z50N6

 

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Military aircraft accidents costing lives, billions of dollars

(CNN, 20 June 16) . Ryan Browne

 

Washington (CNN) – A rash of recent military crashes has cost the lives of several service members as well as billions of dollars’ worth of damages. The wave of accidents has raised questions about the training of pilots and the maintenance of aircraft, with top brass pointing to slashed budgets and aging fleets strained by prolonged conflict.

 

Last week, an MH-60S helicopter crashed in the James River in Virginia during a training mission. Earlier this month, two F-16C fighter jets collided in the skies over Georgia.

 

In the first incident all of the helicopter crew were rescued and in the second the two South Carolina Air National Guard pilots managed to safely eject. But a few days earlier, a Blue Angels pilot was killed when his jet crashed. An Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadron jet crashed the same day, but that pilot managed to successfully eject.

 

During congressional testimony in March, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John Paxton, acknowledged the growing rate of accidents.

 

“We are concerned about an increasing number of aircraft mishaps and accidents,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

 

He blamed funding shortfalls for the increase, saying, “If you don’t have the money and you don’t have the parts and you don’t have the maintenance, then you fly less.”

 

He continued, “If you fly less and maintain slower, there’s a higher likelihood of accidents. So, we’re worried.”

 

The Navy has suffered the heaviest losses of the three military branches since October 2014.

 

From that time through April 2016, the Navy has reported accidents that total over $1 billion in damages, according to statistics provided to CNN by the Naval Safety Center. They included a Marine AV-8B Harrier jet that crashed off the East Coast during takeoff in May, costing about $62.8 million, and a Navy F/A-18A crash in Nevada in January that cost $71 million. Both pilots survived.

 

In joint congressional testimony in April, the senior naval leadership overseeing aviation, Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon Davis and Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, reiterated Paxton’s contention that planes and funds are running short.

 

“We continue to have lower than acceptable numbers of aircraft available to train and fight,” he said.

 

Grosklags said that the 2013 budget cuts known as sequestration had caused the Navy to lose about 10% of its maintenance crews for some of its older planes, including the F/A-18, which first entered service in 1983 and whose planned 30-year life-span has been repeatedly extended due to increased combat operations and lack of replacement jets.

 

The issue is compounded by the fact that the Navy’s replacement plane, the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, has been repeatedly delayed and is not scheduled to reach initial operating capability until 2018.

 

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been beset by spiraling costs, failed testing and schedule delays. The F-35 program had originally promised 1,013 fighters by fiscal year 2016 but has only delivered 179 as of April. The Navy’s version will be the last to reach initial operating capability.

 

The Marines, however, suffered the deadliest military aviation tragedy in years when two CH-53 helicopters crashed while on training flight in Hawaii in January, killing 12 Marines. The Navy estimates that the crash cost nearly $110 million.

 

Describing the CH-53s in March, Davis said, “They are getting old and wearing out. We can only keep them going for so long.”

 

When Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked about the increased rate of accidents in March, the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, attributed the increase in “our mishap rate” to a lack of training resources.

 

“The simple fact is that we don’t have enough airplanes to meet the training requirements for the entire force,” he said.

 

The Air Force, for its part, has also experienced a significant number of accidents.

 

Since October 2014, the Air Force has had 27 “Class A mishaps,” accidents that result in a fatality, loss of an aircraft, or property damage of $2 million or more involving fixed-wing aircraft, an Air Force public affairs officer told CNN.

 

But Air Force Public Affairs Officer Capt. Annmarie Annicelli noted that the rate of accidents has decreased in 2016 compared to fiscal year 2015, saying that at this point last year, the Air Force had 13 Class A mishaps compared to eight this year.

 

According to an analysis of the statistics provided before the June incidents, the Air Force has lost over $526 million in damaged or destroyed aircraft since October 2014, nearly half of that from downed F-16s, another plane that is due to be replaced in part by the long-delayed F-35A.

 

During that period, the Air Force lost a B-52 Stratofortress after a crash in Guam in May, a C-130J transport plane after an October accident in Afghanistan and a RC-135 crashed in April 2015. The latter two crashes resulted in $174 million in damage to both the planes and surrounding environment.

 

Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force vice chief of staff, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March that the average age of the Air Force’s aircraft is 27 years old. The F-16s involved in Tuesday’s collision first entered service in 1993.

 

The Army has also faced issues with its aircraft, primarily helicopters such as the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache.

 

The Army’s Combat Readiness Center told CNN that the Army had 19 Class A aviation accidents resulting in 6 fatalities from October 2014 to October 2015, including a UH-60 crash near Fort Hood, Texas, which cost the lives of four soldiers.

 

Appearing at the same Senate Armed Services hearing with Neller, the chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley, said the increase in Class A accidents “has our attention,” citing efforts to increase training hours for helicopter pilots.

 

“Our aircraft accidents have increased and we are very concerned about it,” he said.

 

Top military leaders have said that while they want to increase training, they have had to prioritize combat operations at the expense of other activities in an era of restricted budgets.

 

Goldfein told Congress, “25 years of continuous combat coupled with budget instability and lower-than-planned top lines have made the Air Force one of the smallest, oldest and least ready in our history.”

 

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/20/politics/military-aviation-crash/index.html

 

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Pentagon’s Renewed Vow to Build 2,443 F-35s Depends on Budgets

(BLOOMBERG, 20 June 16) . Anthony Capaccio

 

The Pentagon still plans a fleet of 2,443 F-35 jets, but the costliest U.S. weapons program may face cuts under the next president if defense dollars continue to be reduced, according to the Defense Department’s No.2 official.

 

The Pentagon’s focus “for the foreseeable future is to acquire F-35s at the highest rate affordable” even though the goal for a fleet of 2,443 of the fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp. “was established prior to the last two decades’ force reductions” and before budget caps reduced planned levels of spending through 2021, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work wrote in a letter to congressional defense leaders May 25.

 

The Pentagon wants to increase the purchase rate of F-35s for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to 92 annually by 2020 from 38 last year. The number jumps to 120 a year when foreign sales are included. For this year, Congress added 11 aircraft to the 57 requested. The Pentagon said in March that the program’s projected cost for development and acquisition dropped by $12.1 billion to $379 billion.

 

Per-Plane Cost

 

That will help bring down the per-plane cost, Work wrote in an interim report under a requirement in this year’s defense budget for the Pentagon to reevaluate whether the long-standing requirement of 2,443 jets — including 1,763 for the Air Force — remained valid.

 

With U.S. defense policy putting increasing emphasis on countering a resurgent Russia in Europe and a more assertive Chinese military, Work said it’s “conceivable that we may need more F-35s than the current program” calls for.

 

Work’s letter comes as the often-criticized F-35 is enjoying some successes. Three of the four congressional defense committee added aircraft to the fiscal year request of 63. Air Force officials say there are no known technical obstacles to declaring as soon as August that as many as 24 jets have initial combat capability. The Marine Corp version is set to fly next month to the Farnsborough Air Show in the U.K.

 

Still, Pentagon officials acknowledged last month that the operational combat testing intended to evaluate whether the aircraft is combat-effective and can be maintained in the field won’t begin until 2018 — about a year later than planned.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-20/pentagon-s-renewed-vow-to-build-2-443-f-35s-depends-on-budgets

 

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Marine Corps forced to pull warbirds out of ‘boneyard’ after new fleet delay

(FOXNEWS.COM, 22 JUNE 16) . Perry Chiaramonte

 

The Marines are looking for a few good planes, and their search has taken them to an Arizona boneyard where the Corps’ old F/A Hornets have been gathering dust and rust for years.

 

The jets are being reclaimed and refurbished by Boeing after the service branch was caught short on planes because of long delays in the rollout of the much-awaited F-35.

 

The Marines could have done as the Navy did and adopted second generation F/A- 18E/F Super Hornets until the new planes were ready, but opted not to.

 

“In hindsight, it was a misstep for the USMC to not have purchased the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, but only because the F-35 has seen such extensive delays and complications in production,” Omar Lamrani, senior military analyst for global intelligence firm Stratfor told FoxNews.com. “If the F-35 had entered production as originally scheduled and at the expected price, then the USMC would have been able to successfully transition straight from the F/A-18 Hornets to the F-35.”

 

Boeing has refurbished two of a planned 30 F/A Hornets stored at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson – known as “the boneyard” – and will soon finish more, according to WarIsBoring.com. The planes will be modified to a current “C+” standard under a contract with Boeing and the USMC signed in 2014.

 

It’s not the first time the military has brought back decommissioned planes from the graveyard. The Marines pulled and restored several retired heavy-lift helicopters during the height of the Iraq War to help with a shortfall in the fleet as a result of heavy usage and crashes.

 

The F-35 was supposed to be ready for front-line service in 2006. The Marine Corps reasoned that the Super Hornets were too pricey to serve as a bridge to the new planes, and chose to continue to operate their current fleets.

 

As the F/A Hornets dwindled through attrition, and quality-control issues delayed the F-35 from coming off the assembly, the Corps was caught short.

 

Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the USMC deputy commandant for aviation, told Senate lawmakers that just 32 percent of the Corps’ Hornet fighters were operational. The branch needs at least 58 percent of the F/A-18s to be flight ready so that there are enough planes for combat, flight instruction and day-to-day training.

 

Officials for the USMC did not immediately return requests for comment but in their most recent annual report on aviation capabilities, Davis said, “I am concerned with our current readiness rates, both in equipment and personnel.”

 

Some experts say bringing back the F/A-18 jets may not be much of an issue.

 

“I consider it a pretty smart move on the U.S. Marine Corps side,” David Cenciotti, of the influential blog The Aviationist, told FoxNews.com. “The F/A-18C and D are very reliable airframes that are quite easy to maintain and operate. Once upgraded to the C+ standard, these ‘gap fillers’ are more than enough to conduct combat operations in low-lethality scenarios like those that see the USMC at work these days.”

 

Once the upgraded ‘legacy’ Hornets are delivered, Cenciotti added, older planes can rotate to daily training activities required by the Marine Corps pilots to maintain preparedness.

 

Lamrani says the only real danger is if maintenance is not kept up on the refurbished planes, but that their usage leads to other issues.

 

“Refurbishing mothballed aircraft is not inexpensive, and hardly cost effective,” he told FoxNews.com. “All this is again linked to the F-35 failing to arrive on time.”

 

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/06/22/marine-corps-forced-to-pull-warbirds-out-boneyard-after-new-fleet-delay.html?intcmp=hpbt3

 

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U.S. Navy Struggling With Readiness

(AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY 21 JUN 16) … Michael Fabey

 

The U.S. Navy is facing a readiness issue, with its older-model F/A-18 fighter jets tied up in maintenance, leading to reduced flight-training hours.

 

Navy flight hours have decreased to about 853,389 in 2015, from about 1.2 million in 2002, according to the Naval Safety Center. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps leaders bemoan the lack of flight training time – as well as the maintenance backlog, especially for F/A-18s.

 

The service, explains Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems, has tiered readiness standards for pilot training. The earliest phases are the workups before deployments; the levels become increasingly involved as a deployment approaches.

 

“Where we are taking the readiness hits is in the lower phase,” he says, affecting the Navy’s ability to surge flight operations.

 

Marine pilots also cannot get enough flight-training time, says Marine Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for Aviation. “We don’t have enough parts,” he has testified to Congress. “We don’t have enough planes.” The service only sends aloft about one-third of its Hornets at any given time.

 

The delay in producing F-35Bs and Cs has put more strain on the legacy Hornets, many of which are in depots awaiting work to keep them operational longer. As a result, the Navy has had to go to sea sooner and more often with Super Hornets, which are now also reaching their planned service lives much more quickly than expected.

 

“Extension of legacy Hornet life requires additional inspections and deep maintenance that were not originally envisioned for the aircraft,” the Navy says in budget documents. “Average repair time has significantly increased because of required engineering of unanticipated repairs, material lead times and increased corrosion of airframes.”

 

Capt. Randy Stearns, commodore for the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, says, “It is a capacity problem.”

 

Only a quarter of the aircraft are fully capable and ready for combat, he says. Those are already in deployed squadrons. But because of the depot backlogs, parts problems and scarcity of aircraft, it could take six months to a year to get the other three-quarters of the force ready to fly.

 

Federal budget sequestration cuts have also slashed away at availability. Fewer aircraft translates to less flight time for training, which increases the risk of accidents.

 

A recent rash of mishaps comes at a time when Boeing is trying not only to unknot the backup of work on older-model Hornets, but also prepare for Super Hornet life-extension work.

 

Boeing has started preliminary assessments of what is needed to overhaul the aircraft, increase its combat life and keep it relevant much later into the century, says Dan Gillian, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18G Growler programs vice president.

 

Initial indications show the scale of a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) that would boost a fighter’s life to 9,000 hr. from its current 6,000, will be a challenge. Boeing started to extend the life of 150 classic Hornets in 2013, a job scheduled to conclude in the early 2020s. The latest SLEP would involve 568 Super Hornets.

 

Boeing will be bringing in two of the earliest, most-used Super Hornets in the coming months, Gillian says. These “learning aircraft” will be used to discern some of the likely mechanical issues.

 

When the first aircraft hit 6,000 hr. within the next year, the company’s engineers and mechanics will get a firsthand look. “We will tear them apart to see with our eyes what is really happening,” he says.

 

Early analysis suggests work on the Super Hornets may at least start off easier than it did with the classic Hornets, Gillian says. “What we are seeing now is that the Super Hornet is at a better starting point than the classic Hornet was,” he says. “That was by intent. The Super Hornet is the newest airplane in the Navy’s inventory.”

 

That said, “there are some hot spots that need to be addressed,” he acknowledges. “Flight control surfaces have to be replaced or repaired.”

 

One of the major concerns is corrosion, and the SLEP aircraft will show engineers the extent of the problem. “These aircraft have been flown in conflict for … a long time on the carrier in a very corrosive environment,” Gillian says.

 

http://aviationweek.com/defense/us-navy-struggling-readiness

 

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Defense Rolls Out Phased Retirement For Civilian Employees

(GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE 21 JUN 16) … Kellie Lunney

 

The Defense Department on Tuesday announced it will now allow eligible civilian employees to partially retire while remaining on the job part-time to help better manage its workforce needs.

 

The decision by the government’s largest department to implement phased retirement – nearly four years after Congress passed a law allowing the practice – could spur other agencies to roll out their own programs to take advantage of the flexibility. As of mid-January, less than 50 people across government had applied for the benefit, according to the Office of Personnel Management. That’s because many agencies either haven’t finalized phased retirement plans yet that meet the needs of their missions as well as collective bargaining agreements, or aren’t offering the benefit to eligible employees. It’s also possible some federal employees don’t know what their options are, or just aren’t interested/eligible.

 

“Participation in the Phased Retirement Program is voluntary and requires the mutual consent of both the employee and an authorized DoD component official,” said the June 21 memorandum from Peter Levine, acting undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness. “DoD components may limit the number of employees included in the Phased Retirement Program, as appropriate.”

 

It’s the latest personnel-related change that the Pentagon has unveiled in recent months, as part of the department’s broader effort to recruit and retain civilian employees and service members.

 

Agencies have broad discretion in deciding how to implement phased retirement, including deciding which jobs are eligible for it, determining mentoring activities and deciding how long an employee can remain partially retired. When eligible employees can apply for the opportunity will depend on how quickly their individual agencies can figure out a framework for offering the program.

 

According to the DoD memo, “retirement-eligible employees must have been employed on a full-time basis for at least a consecutive three-year period ending on the effective date of entry into phased retirement status.”

 

Specifically, phased retirement allows eligible feds to work 20 hours per week, receiving half their pay as well as half their retirement annuity. Those employees who enter phased retirement must devote at least 20 percent of their work time, or about 8 hours a pay period, to mentoring other employees, ideally for those who take over for them when they fully retire. The idea is to keep talented employees with valuable institutional knowledge on the job a little longer so they can train other workers, while they also enjoy a partial retirement.

 

Richard Thissen, national president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, praised Defense for implementing phased retirement for civilian workers, nothing that since the tool became law four years ago, “NARFE’s phones have rung off the hook with calls from federal employees wondering when phased retirement will be available at their agencies.” Thissen added that “for many, many other federal employees, however, this news will add to their frustration because the future of phased retirement at many agencies is still uncertain.”

 

The Commerce Department reportedly announced recently its plans to implement phased retirement. Other agencies currently offering the benefit to employees include the departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development.

 

http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2016/06/defense-rolls-out-phased-retirement-civilian-employees/129276/

 

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US Lawmakers Set to Reconcile Defense Policy Bills

(DEFENSE NEWS, 21 June 16) . Joe Gould

 

WASHINGTON – Lead staff for the Senate and House armed services committees are readying for what is likely a summer-long conference process to reconcile differing defense policy bills, where the toughest issues are said to be funding, military healthcare reform and acquisition reforms.

 

Facing White House threats to veto both bills, Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s charge the bills represent “micromanagement,” and ahead of closed-door negotiations with each other, the staff directors for the HASC and SASC offered defenses of their committee’s approach to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

 

At an event hosted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute Tuesday, SASC Staff Director Chris Brose and HASC Staff Director Bob Simmons said both bills are seeking to help the military be more agile, innovative and robust.

 

“The objectives are the same, the intent is the same,” Brose said.

 

Carter and the White House have found numerous faults with the policy bills, including the Senate’s plan to eliminate the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L), the House’s funding approach and the refusal to allow the Pentagon to shut down installations round the country.

 

Simmons defended the House-approved NDAA’s plan to stick to the bipartisan budget deal but use $18 billion from the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund to pay for base budget items, expecting the incoming president will ask Congress for a supplemental defense spending package.

 

Simmons said the president’s veto threat over the bill was “ironic,” noting a Democratic Congress acted similarly in 2008, just before the Obama administration began.

 

“It’s not like we haven’t done this before, and in fact it was the Democrats who did it last time,” Simmons said. “Then the candidate who ends up being the president can make their own assessment of what the foreign policy is, and the direction they want to take the country, then ask us for the funding appropriate for that effort.”

 

Opponents have said the House NDAA takes funding from troops, but that is “wholly incorrect,” Simmons said. The bill, he said, adds money to ready troops who are next to deploy.

 

“We’re doing all these things to help the Department of Defense,” Simmons said. “If [the president is] going to veto it, he’s operating under false pretenses. We are taking care of the warfighter. We want to make sure those kids go into harm’s way with what they need.”

 

The Senate took a different tack on funding, meaning House and Senate conferees will have to work it out. Asked how the Senate might approach these talks, Brose said it was too soon to say as SASC Chair John McCain, R-Ariz., and HASC Chair Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, had yet to meet on the matter. Both chairmen have sought more troops and hardware left out of the president’s 2017 budget request, he noted.

 

“We have no disagreement over the need for this, and the challenge is how you deliver it with a top-line both sides agree is inadequate,” Brose said.

 

The Senate’s NDAA blows up the position of AT&L undersecretary – currently held by Frank Kendall – and hands its duties to a new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, or USD(R&E), and the renamed undersecretary of management and support, or USD(M&S). The USD(R&E)’s job would be to champion innovation for DoD.

 

The SASC’s far-reaching reforms are aimed at untangling an acquisitions system that too rarely succeeds when “innovation is the sidecar” and “feels like a series of small scale insurgencies,” Brose said. It also continues last year’s approach, which placed more acquisition authority in the hands of the services.

 

The House’s NDAA’s acquisition reform focus is to steer DoD away from lengthy, ambitious programs and toward on incremental, rapidly-fielded breakthrough technologies. It also aims to shake up the Pentagon’s risk-averse culture, Simmons said.

 

“You don’t have to solve the whole problem,” Simmons said. “It’s a question: If I give you 30 percent of the capability, and you can field it today, or would you rather wait 15 years to get a 100-percent solution? Well if 30 percent today gives you a better position on the battlefield, you want that today.”

 

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2016/06/21/us-lawmakers-set-reconcile-defense-policy-bills/86217052/

 

 

FRCSW / COMFRC News Clips – Week of June 13

Below are the FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips for the week of June 13:

 

LOCAL COVERAGE

COMFRC celebrates Sohl’s legacy; welcomes new commander

Celebrating teamwork at annual NAVAIR Commander’s Awards ceremony

Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

RADM Sohl Farewell to Fleet Readiness Centers

COMFRC holds mentoring sessions to discuss CCPM

 

WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS

Danish parliament approves F-35 selection

Canadian Fighter-Jet Debate Turns Testy

Arresting gear on Ford-class carriers under scrutiny

Navy In Dayton: A Top Admiral Says Drones Are Future Of Aviation

Naval Aviation Vision: Legacy Navy Hornets Gone by 2026

 

 

WE’RE SOCIAL!

Follow us on Twitter @COMFRC_Sustains,

Facebook at http://facebook.com/COMFRC

and YouTube at www.youtube.com/channel/UCKGMKvAQuJ_L6qnM0DZravQ

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LOCAL COVERAGE

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COMFRC celebrates Sohl’s legacy; welcomes new commander

(COMMANDER, FLEET READINESS CENTERS, 16 June 16) . Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – It is not prescribed specifically by U.S. Navy regulations, but it is one of the Navy’s oldest traditions: the Change of Command ceremony.

 

Nearly 400 guests gathered June 16 in the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School hangar to honor and to bid farewell to Rear Adm. Paul “LJ” Sohl, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC), as he handed over the helm to Vice Commander Capt. Mike Zarkowski.

 

Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, served as the presiding official and credited Sohl with maturing the focus and internal structure of COMFRC and the eight Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs).

 

Sohl “has made a tremendous, positive impact and will leave a lasting legacy of commitment to his people of the FRC enterprise and to the fleet,” Grosklags said.

 

Grosklags, who eight years ago led COMFRC, congratulated Zarkowski on assuming command. “I have complete confidence in your leadership and ability to keep this command moving forward.”

 

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces and Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet provided remarks as the guest speaker.

 

“The FRCs clearly play an absolutely critical role to recover readiness across the force and to improve the way we continue to generate that readiness,” Shoemaker stated. “LJ, thank you for the ongoing work to deliver your FRC Vision 2020, which I am confident will give us a more streamlined, agile and responsive organization in the future.”

 

Sohl came on board at COMFRC in August 2013 facing the challenges of budget shortfalls, sequestration and a high operating tempo. To combat those challenges and optimize capability and capacity, Vision 2020 — the strategic plan for regaining readiness across naval aviation — was implemented. The ultimate achievement of Vision 2020 will be the inception of a global maintenance management system. The system will recognize a failing aircraft as soon as it happens and parts, materials, artisan, equipment, testing can be moved to the aircraft to fix it in real time.

 

In a message to the FRC workforce, Sohl emphasized the need to keep focused on the mission:

 

“Your jobs are crucial to naval aviation readiness,” Sohl said. “Without you, nothing happens. We need your skill sets to help continue deploying our assets worldwide and keep our missions growing. Thanks for what you do each and every day. You are making a difference to our fleet.”

 

In his remarks to the audience, Zarkowski stressed that even though this is a time of transition, the mission of COMFRC remains the same: to provide aircraft ready for tasking.

 

“We have complex challenges we must continue to address,” Zarkowski said. “We must continue to commit the necessary resources to stay the course with Vision 2020. With this Vision, the naval aviation force of the future will be able to quickly adapt to emergent maintenance requirements and the Fleet Readiness Centers will be faster, more agile, more geographically independent and cost less.”

 

Notable COMFRC accomplishments under Sohl include:

.Leadership of 16,000 civilian, military and contractor personnel at eight Fleet Readiness Centers and management of a budget of $4.3 billion in maintenance, repair and overhaul.

.With a total of 8,483,281 labor force hours and $1.16 billion in cost, his emphasis on process improvement and maintenance integration resulted in the delivery of 1,434 airframes, 4,294 engines and modules, 155,255 components, 2,151 pieces of support equipment and 9,060 airframe in-service repairs, which achieved a 35 percent reduction in backorders from fiscal year 2014 to 2015 and improved weapon system availability for eight Type/Model aircraft.

.His involvement in the Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Aviation Rapid Action Team ensured the development and improvement of more than 100 repair processes, enhanced Fleet Readiness Center capabilities and resulted in $13.1 million in cost avoidance while improving readiness and lowering cost per flight hours.

 

The Waterloo, Iowa, native earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master’s in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom, tallying over 3,200 flight hours in 30 different aircraft.

 

In August, Sohl is slated to become Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

The Navy’s eight Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs), with locations on the U.S. east and west coasts and in Japan, conduct maintenance, repair, and overhaul of U.S. Navy aircraft, engines, components and support equipment. Each year, roughly 6,500 Sailors and Marines, along with more than 9,500 depot artisans at the FRCs overhaul and repair nearly 1,000 aircraft, thousands of engines and several hundred thousand components valued at over $4 billion.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6293

 

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Celebrating teamwork at annual NAVAIR Commander’s Awards ceremony

(NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, 13 June 16) . NAVAIR Public Affairs

 

HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The 16th annual NAVAIR Commander’s Awards ceremony, held here June 8, celebrated technical, business and leadership excellence in support of increasing speed to the fleet, delivering integrated and interoperable warfighting capabilities, and improving affordability.

 

This year, there were 50 nominations, representing a broad spectrum of programs and exemplifying the dedication, innovative spirit and drive for results that enable NAVAIR to accomplish its mission effectively on behalf of the warfighters, said Master Chief Michael Sekeet.

 

“To all of the winners and to everyone here today, thanks for all you do every day for naval aviation,” said NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags. “It is both humbling and gratifying to know that you are passionate about solving real, existing everyday problems that our Sailors and Marines face. At the end of the day, that’s why we’re here. There is no organization more dedicated to finding a solution than you.”

 

The winners are, by category:

 

Business Operations:

 

PMA-207 Commercial Derivative Fixed Wing Airlift/Operational Support Aircraft Team, led by Cmdr. Warren Crouch and James Thompson, Patuxent River

 

This team provides procurement and life-cycle support services for C-9, C-12, C-20, C-26, UC-35, C-37, C-38 and C-40 aircraft. Working collaboratively and creatively, this team harnesses the best of industry’s public and private aircraft acquisition and sustainment practices to support the principles of acquisition reform and develop effective, efficient solutions to meet the warfighters’ requirements.

 

Energy:

 

NAVAIR Energy Team, Facilities and Infrastructure Pillar, led by Franz Kury, Patuxent River

 

The Facilities and Infrastructure Pillar (FAIP) of NAVAIR’s Energy Team works as a cross-competency, interdisciplinary, multi-site team to support the Navy’s energy goals and enhance the capability of naval aviation systems through efficient, effective energy use. In the past year, the FAIP devised and updated its energy strategy, enhanced its measures and metrics, broadened and extended its energy project portfolio, improved means to promote awareness and cultural change, and partnered at the Navy level to improve toolsets and collaboration that will assist NAVAIR and the Navy. The FAIP worked with command, command investment leads and other competencies, along with Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Commander, Navy Installations Command and private industry, to build a broad-based project portfolio of energy-related direct investments. In the past year, the Naval Air Warfare Centers and Maintenance Level III Fleet Readiness Centers invested in more than 100 system upgrades in key focus areas to improve infrastructure energy efficiency. The FAIP’s efforts and activities in the command resulted in an overall $3.8 million reduction in fiscal year 2015 Navy working capital fund and major range test facility base overhead costs.

 

Logistics and Industrial Operations:

 

Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific (FRCWP), led by Cmdr. Matthew Edwards

 

Headquartered at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, with detachment sites in Iwakuni and Okinawa, Japan; Guam; Korea and Malaysia, FRCWP provides responsive, affordable readiness for Navy and Marine Corps forces deployed worldwide, ashore and afloat. FRCWP delivers readiness through aircraft and support equipment depot maintenance. In 2015, FRCWP:

.Completed 29 aircraft planned depot events for 13 different squadrons

.Completed 573 urgent unscheduled aircraft repairs worldwide, supporting 77 squadrons, including 180 repairs on board deployed ships

.Performed nearly 700 engineering dispositions

.Overhauled or repaired 134 pieces of support equipment

 

Program Management:

 

P-8A Production Team, led Robert Holmes, PMA-290, Patuxent River

 

This team’s program management and acquisition skills helped the P-8A Poseidon Production Program deliver 13 P-8A aircraft to the fleet in 2015 – one more than planned – and with all deliveries ahead of schedule by 30 days on average, with some aircraft delivered 60 days ahead of schedule. The team’s work gave new warfighting capabilities to the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet and met their P-3 to P-8 transition schedule by providing more than two squadrons of P-8A aircraft for squadron deployment requirements in 2015. Implementing a detailed, comprehensive “should cost” program plan, the P-8A Production Team’s drive to lower cost and increase affordability resulted in $311 million in savings, which enabled the procurement of two additional P-8A aircraft in January 2016.

 

Quality of Service/Customer Service:

 

Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) Urgent Operational Need (UON) 360 Team, led by Cmdr. Molly J. Boron, PMA-290M, Patuxent River

 

In response to a classified UON from the commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in April 2015, the MPRA UON 360 Team developed, integrated, installed, tested and delivered a new, unique airborne sensor capability, which provides a 360-degree video surveillance and recording capability around U.S. Navy patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. The team achieved key milestones in a short timeline, demonstrating a drive to deliver and deploy enhanced capability on MPRA with a rapid “speed to the fleet” focus. The team delivered an affordable product to the operational commander within six months of program start, resulting in improved situational awareness and safety of aircrews deployed in the western Pacific Ocean operating areas and serving as a deterrent in an increasingly contested theater of operations.

 

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation:

 

Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Team, led by Adam Ferreira, PMA-234, Patuxent River

 

Responsible for the design, development and procurement of the NGJ capability, the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Systems and EA-6B (PMA-234) Program Office’s NGJ Team has exceeded expectations. From their innovative approach to the evolution of AEA to their acceptance as the pilot program in the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Better Buying Power Skunk Works initiative, the team will equip future warfighters with a state-of-the art technology to address emerging electronic warfare gaps and ensure kill chain wholeness against growing threat capabilities and capacity. The team’s focus on speed to the fleet, improved affordability and platform integration proved relevant as the increased jamming capability is critical to sustaining the future missions of the Navy, other services and international partners.

 

Science and Technology:

 

NAVAIR Innovation Challenge Team, led by Antonella Thompson, Patuxent River

 

NAVAIR’s Innovation Challenge Program is a new and creative construct that provides a unique professional development opportunity for the junior workforce to address mission-related technical issues in a vibrant, nurturing and enabling environment. The projects undertaken in the first cycle ranged from harvesting and storing sound energy from jet engines successfully to demonstrating that it is possible to obtain reliable, accurate data for structural health monitoring of metallic 3-D printed parts. One project examined technologies and innovative materials that could potentially allow future gearboxes to run without oil lubrication. The technical efforts resulted in multiple patent applications, technical reports and presentations to acquisition workforce stakeholders. The Innovation Challenge is evolving from an “experiment” to a Navy best practice.

 

Edward H. Heinemann Award for Outstanding Achievement:

 

TH-57 Avionics Upgrade Team, led by Robert Moran, Patuxent River

 

This award is presented annually to the group within NAVAIR who achieved or helped achieve significant improvement in the design or modification of an aircraft or aircraft system. This team, with the support of the Chief of Naval Aviation Training (CNATRA) Fleet Support Team, implemented an integrated solution to replace the obsolete very high frequency (VHF) radio and transponder, to provide a common communications and navigation suite in the TH-57B and TH-57C. This solution also meets the January 2020 Federal Aviation Administration mandate for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast capability, providing modern VHF communications, navigation and GPS navigation capabilities to the rotary wing training fleet for CNATRA. From concept to engineering change proposal approval, this effort took only 10 months, and the estimated cost to implement the proposal was 20 percent less than the original budget estimate, allowing the team to use existing funds to resolve other TH-57 obsolescence issues.

 

T. Michael Fish Quality of Worklife Award:

 

Janna Roberts, Patuxent River

 

This award is named for the former head of NAVAIR’s Research and Engineering Staff Office and Deputy Assistant Commander for Shore Station Management, recognizing a leader who improves productivity, retention, morale and innovation significantly. Roberts’ volunteerism, fundraising and aggressive recruitment, transition assistance, career placement and resilient advocacy, has inspired the recovery and physical fitness of more than 5,000 wounded warriors and helped more than 924 hires of wounded, ill and/or injured service members to NAVAIR. Read more about her efforts.

 

Small Business Advocacy Awards:

.Individual: Holli W. Galletti, Patuxent River

 

Throughout fiscal year 2015, Galletti served as the principal deputy program manager for the H-60 Program Office (PMA-299). In this role, she became the lead for the program’s small business initiatives and has become a steadfast advocate for small business in both the H-60 Program and across the Program Executive Office for Air Antisubmarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission portfolio. Galletti began her efforts well before the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition’s January 2015 “Tapping into Small Business in a Big Way” memorandum that formally assigned principal deputy program managers as the small business advocates responsible for identifying opportunities within their programs. In preparation for the MH-60’s shift from production to sustainment, she led a deep dive into potential small business opportunities and shared the findings with the Office of Small Business Programs.

.Team: Airborne Threat Simulation Organization (ATSO) Integrated Product Team, led by Eric Finn, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Point Mugu

 

Through early inclusion with NAWCWD’s Office of Small Business Programs, market research and procurement planning, the ATSO Team identified capable small businesses for numerous contracts that were solicited or set aside to small businesses in fiscal year 2015. Instead of having one large prime contractor deliver turnkey airborne electronic attack systems, ATSO, as lead system integrator, manages more than 13 large hardware contracts to procure and integrate the required subassemblies. This approach established unique focus areas of hardware technology and maximized opportunities for small business participation as prime and subcontractors in NAVAIR contracts.

 

Grosklags also made special mention of two teams that exemplify good risk management: the Risk Management Framework and Cyber Warfare Detachment teams.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6286

 

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Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

(COMMANDER, FLEET READINESS CENTERS 16 June 16) . Gary Younger, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs

 

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Covering an area larger than that of the Continental United States, it’s a challenge to provide readiness to Naval aviation when and where needed. Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific (FRCWP), however, consistently does that and was recognized with a Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Commander’s Award for Logistics and Industrial Operations during a ceremony held here June 8.

 

“This award represents FRC West Pac’s commitment to sustaining forward deployed squadrons,” said Cmdr. Matthew Edwards, FRCWP commanding officer, accepting the bright silver Commander’s Award during a ceremony at the Rear Adm. William A. Moffett Building at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The ceremony was also broadcast via video teleconference to NAVAIR sites around the country.

 

One of seven categories, the Logistics and Industrial Operations award gauges logistics support of fleet operations and maintenance throughout the full life cycle of aviation weapon systems and related equipment as well as technical support to aviation acquisition, life cycle logistics and maintenance planning processes, procurement and supply.

 

Headquartered at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, FRCWP has detachments in Iwakuni and Okinawa, Japan, Guam, Korea, and Malaysia staffed by a diverse team of dedicated military, U.S. government civilians, and Japanese nationals and commercial contract personnel providing responsive, affordable readiness for Navy and Marine Corps forces deployed worldwide, ashore and afloat. FRCWP supports the fleet outside of the continental United States, including U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

 

“Being aligned for fast response, FRCWP improves NAVAIR’s affordability and rapid response to urgent warfighter depot maintenance needs by maintaining in-theatre scheduled aircraft and support equipment maintenance, Carrier Strike Group In-Service Repair (ISR) teams onboard deployed carriers, and field repair teams available worldwide in 48 hours or less,” wrote Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Tuschinski, FRCWP production officer, in the award nomination packet.

 

In 2015, FRCWP completed 29 aircraft planned depot events for 13 different squadrons; completed 573 urgent unscheduled aircraft repairs worldwide supporting 77 squadrons, including 180 repairs on board deployed ships; expeditiously performed nearly 700 engineering dispositions; and overhauled or repaired 134 pieces of support equipment.

 

“We rely on our contractors in Japan, Korea and Malaysia for scheduled depot maintenance,” said Edwards. “We leverage their vast experience and technical expertise in manufacturing and aircraft maintenance to complete planned maintenance.”

 

Sometimes serving the fleet means going to where the fleet is, and FRC WESTPAC completed more than 1,700 aircraft ISRs onboard 35 deployed ships and at 20 shore-based locations.

 

“We have a dedicated team of technicians who can deploy on a moment’s notice to meet a customer’s need,” said Edwards. “We have guys who come in at eight in the morning, get told they have to deploy, and are on a plane that afternoon.”

 

The Support Equipment Rework Facility, or SERF for short, overhauled and repaired more than 350 pieces of Support Equipment. SERF’s Japanese employees contributed 28,000 man-hours without a single Quality Deficiency Report. SERF also provided field team support and returned six different support equipment items that were unavailable for use for three to six months to a ready-for-issue status in eight days. The on-site repairs saved more than 60 days shipping time and $30,000 in shipping costs.

 

FRCWP also awarded five aircraft depot maintenance contracts in the Western Pacific totaling $62.3 million in the sustainment of forward deployed naval forces in support of F/A-18A-D Hornet, F/A-18 E-F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, AH-1 Cobra, UH-1 Iroquois, H-53E Super Stallion and KC-130 Hercules. FRCWP also awarded a contract for the first overseas V-22 Osprey depot capability.

 

Other NAVAIR Commander’s Award categories include Business Operations; Program Management; Quality of Service/Customer Service; Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E); Science and Technology; and Energy.

 

COMFRC shares in Commander’s Award for Energy

 

Industrial operations are typically energy intensive and can use or produce by-products that are hazardous to the environment. Danny Miller, COMFRC Environmental and Energy Lead, said the FRCs have worked hard to reduce their energy footprint and environmental impact over the past few years.

 

For its efforts, COMFRC – a part of the NAVAIR Energy team, Facilities and Infrastructure Pillar (FAIP), – shared in the Commander’s Award in the Energy category. In the past year, FRC East, Southeast and Southwest – as well as the Naval Air Warfare Centers – have invested in more than 100 system upgrades to improve infrastructure energy efficiency.

 

In 2015, FRC East upgraded lighting throughout its production area without impacting delivery of aircraft to the fleet. FRC Southwest earned the 2015 Chief of Naval Operations’ Environmental Award (Sustainability-Industrial Activity) for its efforts to prevent or eliminate pollution at the source, including practices that increase efficiency and sustainability in the use of raw materials, energy, water or other resources. FRC Southeast picked up the SECNAV Environmental Award (Sustainability-Industrial Activity) for reducing energy by implementing steam reduction and adding high-efficiency lighting, diverting 250 tons of waste from landfills and recycled more than 160 tons of used oil for energy recovery and reduction.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6289

 

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RADM Sohl Farewell to Fleet Readiness Centers

 

After almost three years at the helm as Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC) Rear Admiral Sohl will be leaving COMFRC and continuing to his next assignment as Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force in Norfolk, Virginia. Before heading out, he passes along his thanks and admiration to his Fleet Readiness Center shipmates for their determination and dedication to the warfighter.

 

View the video message at https://youtu.be/E-5QFDDNJKs

 

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COMFRC holds mentoring sessions to discuss CCPM

(COMMANDER, FLEET READINESS COMMAND, 16 June 16) .Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland — Increasing the speed of service to the fleet is a never-ending quest for Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC). This includes exploring and implementing state-of-the-art business practices to improve production efficiency of much-needed aircraft, components and equipment.

 

To help with the understanding of the concepts and processes of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) COMFRC’s Carlos Carcamo, N42’s Production Performance Improvement CCPM Lead and Senior Chief Petty Officer Nana Boakye, N42’s Performance Improvement Military Lead held mentoring sessions on CCPM theory, management techniques and Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) implementation on May 4 and May 11 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Also at the May 4 session, John Gatt, COMFRC Optimized Production System Team Lead, provided technical insight and lessons learned regarding CCPM and implementation of Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR) in Components, Engines and back shops.

 

“Feedback from the attendees was very positive,” said Yvette Bose, COMFRC AIR-6.0 Logistics and Industrial Operations Group lead.  “Everyone appreciated how the mentors shared a wide-range of scenarios from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)/COMFRC, external agencies and commercial entities and made CCPM theory and technical terminology easier to understand.”

 

COMFRC is implementing CCPM and DBR across its eight Fleet Readiness Centers in order to speed production and return much-needed aircraft and components to the fleet. CCPM is a method of planning and managing projects that emphasizes the resources (people, equipment, physical space) required to execute project tasks. DBR details a work schedule for the constraint (Drum), buffering the constraint so that it is never starved (Buffer), and setting a release mechanism to ensure that work gets released into the system at the right time (Rope). This systematic approach protects the weakest link in the production system against process variation and dependency, which maximizes the system’s overall effectiveness.

 

More than 50 logistics, production, quality assurance and financial professionals attended the presentations and actively engaged in questions and answers and sharing of their personal military and civilian experiences with CCPM and DBR.

 

COMFRC 6.0 is working with the College of Logistics and Industrial Operations (CLIO) to establish these CCPM/DBR sessions as course offerings for Programs and Teams with additional information to be announced on the CLIO and NAVAIR University sites.

 

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=6294

 

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Danish parliament approves F-35 selection

(FLIGHT GLOBAL, 14 June 16) . Craig Hoyle

 

Denmark’s parliament has approved a government recommendation to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35, with the decision edging Copenhagen closer to an order for 27 examples of the fifth-generation fighter.

 

To be operated from Skrydstrup air base, the conventional take-off and landing F-35As will be delivered between 2021 and 2026, the nation’s defence ministry says. The new type will replace the Royal Danish Air Force’s current Lockheed F-16s, the last of which will leave use in late 2024.

 

Approved on 9 June, the step follows a mid-May recommendation by the Danish government and defence ministry after an evaluation process by the latter’s New Fighter Programme Office. Boeing’s F/A-18F Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon had also been considered as candidates, but the F-35 was ranked first in all four assessment criteria.

 

“Based on the current level of ambition for the assignment of combat aircraft, the parties agree to purchase 27 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters,” the defence ministry says. It values the aircraft purchase at around DKr20 billion ($3 billion), but adds: “the determination of the acquisition cost will only happen after contracting with the supplier.”

 

With the F-35 still in its development phase and the F-35A yet to achieve initial operational capability with the US Air Force, the defence ministry notes that “there is and will remain a number of risks” to fielding the new type. “The [Danish] parties want to follow the development of the F-35 programme closely, and will be regularly informed of progress and risks,” it adds.

 

During the transition period from the F-16, Denmark will not be able to support international operations between 2022 and 2024, with “a limited number” of F-35s to be available for such activities from the following year.

 

“From 2027 it is expected that the Joint Strike Fighter can solve the all tasks, both nationally and internationally,” says the defence ministry.

 

Copenhagen plans to participate in a proposed multi-year purchase agreement for the F-35, along with several other customers, and says its final number of aircraft could increase if economic conditions allow. However, “prior to contracting for the last six aircraft a status [evaluation] will be made by the parties,” the ministry says. “At this point the parties can decide to purchase fewer aircraft if the first aircraft are not delivered on time and to the expected price.”

 

Welcoming confirmation of the selection, Jens Maaløe, chief executive of Danish company Terma, says: “We look forward to explore new areas of co-operation and bring “best value” to the F-35 programme.” A supplier on the programme since 2005, it currently produces composite aerostructures and radar electronics.

 

Lockheed says it will “continue to work with Danish industry on F-35 production and sustainment”.

 

Denmark will follow Australia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the USA in signing a production order for the F-35.

 

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/danish-parliament-approves-f-35-selection-426331/

 

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Canadian Fighter-Jet Debate Turns Testy

(DEFENSE NEWS, 8 JUNE 16) . David Pugliese

 

VICTORIA, British Columbia – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has slammed the F-35, labeling the aircraft as a fighter that “does not work,” as his government considers the purchase of Boeing Super Hornets instead.

 

The Liberal Party government’s consideration of a purchase of an undisclosed number of Super Hornets as an “interim” aircraft to deal with a fighter capability gap touched off a storm of controversy in the House of Commons.

 

Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose accused Trudeau of selecting a fighter jet without the proper knowledge of what the Royal Canadian Air Force needs.

 

But Trudeau said the previous Conservative government botched the procurement of a new jet. “They left us a mess we are going to fix,” he said June 7 in the House of Commons.

 

“Canadians know full well that for 10 years, the Conservatives completely missed the boat when it came to delivering to Canadians and their armed forces the equipment they needed,” Trudeau added. “They clung to an aircraft (the F-35) that does not work and is far from working.”

 

The Conservative government had committed to purchasing 65 F-35s. The plan was put on hold, however, as technical issues with the aircraft continued to make headlines. The Conservatives and the Canadian military were also accused by critics of trying to hide the full cost of the F-35 procurement.

 

During last year’s election campaign Trudeau said if his government was elected it would not buy the F-35. He said the aircraft didn’t fit Canada’s needs and was too expensive.

 

Earlier in the week, industry and defense sources said the Liberals were examining the purchase of the Super Hornets.

 

The Liberal government has not denied those deliberations, with officials arguing that time is of the essence in acquiring a new jet to ensure Canada’s security.

 

“There is a developing capability gap which needs to be managed,” Parliamentary Defence Secretary John McKay said. “We have obligations to NATO. We have obligations to NORAD. We have obligations to our own defence and to expeditionary matters.”

 

The government said no decision on the Super Hornets has yet been made.

 

Some industry officials argue Trudeau has backed himself into a corner on the fighter jet procurement. The prime minister has vowed his government would hold an open and fair competition to replace the CF-18 fighter jet, prompting critics to question how that could be if one specific jet was already ruled out.

 

Alan Williams, the former assistant deputy minister for materiel at Canada’s Department of National Defence, said Trudeau would not have been able to exclude the F-35 from an open competition.

 

If that indeed happened, Lockheed Martin could file a complaint with the federal court or a federal trade tribunal that it had been unfairly excluded from a bid, other procurement specialists noted.

 

But a Canadian provision that allows for the quick purchase of interim equipment without competition for reasons of national security could give the Liberal government the out they desire. They could argue that the Super Hornets are needed on an interim basis to meet Canada’s immediate needs, industry representatives say.

 

The proposed deal to buy Super Hornets on an interim basis would also push off any fighter competition well into the late 2020s, allowing Trudeau to keep his election promise, while dealing with the issue of replacing the country’s aging fleet of CF-18 jets.

 

Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Cindy Tessier, spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin Canada released a statement noting that, “Lockheed Martin has not been contacted by the Government of Canada on a requirement for an interim fighter solution.”

 

“We are confident the F-35 is the best solution to meet Canada’s operational requirements at the most affordable price,” she added.

 

Besides Super Hornet and the F-35, the potential contenders to replace Canada’s CF-18s include the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, and Saab’s Gripen.

 

In their defense platform, the Liberal Party stated that the primary role of a new Canadian fighter jet would be to contribute to the defense of North America and not to act as a “stealth first-strike platform.”

 

The Royal Canadian Air Force is in the midst of planning for a (CAN) $400 million ($300 million) modernization of the CF-18 fighter jets so they can continue operating until 2025. No contracts have yet been awarded on that modernization and it is unclear whether that project will now proceed.

 

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2016/06/08/canadian-fighter-jet-f-35-super-hornet/85605450/

 

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Arresting gear on Ford-class carriers under scrutiny

(DAILY PRESS, 13 JUNE 16) . Hugh Lessig

 

Citing cost and performance concerns, a Senate panel wants a full review of the new system designed to safely land planes on the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers.

 

The Advanced Arresting Gear, or AAG, uses a combination of energy-absorbing water turbines and an induction motor to bring aircraft to a controlled stop. Built by General Atomics, it is meant to be highly adjustable, suitable for a fighter jet, a larger aircraft or an unmanned drone. Its flexibility should reduce aircraft stress and maintenance costs.

 

However, the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed that the Navy is studying whether to continue with AAG in the Ford-class program or revert to a version of the system now used on current Nimitz-class carriers.

 

Newport News Shipbuilding preformed a turn shift for the Gerald R. Ford “CVN 78” rotating the aircraft carrier 180 degrees and docking it back to the pier on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

 

Newport News Shipbuilding builds aircraft carriers for the Navy. While the shipyard bears no responsibility for AAG’s testing and performance, problems with such a critical system can affect schedules and operations at the yard.

 

AAG already is installed on the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford, its construction essentially complete and scheduled to be delivered to the Navy later this year.

 

But the Navy is now reviewing what will happen with the second and third Ford-class ships, the John F. Kennedy and Enterprise, respectively, according to the committee. The Navy has already ordered AAG for Kennedy, making it less likely that a change will happen on that ship.

 

The concerns are outlined in the Armed Services Committee’s report on the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which serves as a blueprint for military spending and priorities. The NDAA comes up for a vote next week.

 

“The committee believes the Navy must pause and reconsider the way ahead, including the best business case, for the arresting gear on CVN-79 (Kennedy) and CVN-80 (Enterprise) and notes the Navy has already begun such a review,” the report states.

 

General Atomics referred questions about AAG to the Navy.

 

Capt. Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said she could not comment on specifics in the Senate report. In a statement emailed to the Daily Press, she said, “The Navy continues to work diligently to deliver the arresting gear system to the CVN-78 (Ford) class in accordance with program requirements. There is no decision to change that direction at this time.”

 

A key financial measure of the AAG is the procurement acquisition unit cost, which considers money spent on research and development, plus the scope of the planned purchase. As of February, it has risen 186 percent from the original baseline estimate in 2009, and 43 percent above the current basement estimate of 2013.

 

Besides cost, performance is also an issue. The committee notes “persistent delays in software development” that prompted the Navy to lower requirements for the AAG and eliminate a measure that it be back-fitted onto Nimitz-class ships.

 

In early 2015, the Navy considered using the current Nimitz-class system, called the Mark 7, on the upcoming Kennedy. It backed off.

 

The Navy “decided to continue with AAG, in part because the installation of the Mark 7 was estimated to cost $87 million more than AAG,” the report states. “This appears to be a shortsighted decision given the extraordinary and continuing development delays and cost growth, including more than $500 million since this decision was made in February 2015.”

 

The committee’s report is the latest in a series of publicly stated concerns about AAG.

 

In November 2014, the Government Accountability Office report noted failures in land-based testing and the potential for delays if the system already installed on the Gerald R. Ford had to be modified.

 

In March 2015, then-Rear Adm. Thomas Moore said the system was about two years behind schedule due to problems discovered in testing that led to further work and redesign. At the time, Moore was the Navy’s program executive officer for carriers. Now Vice Adm. Moore is the head of Naval Sea Systems Command, a post he formally assumed Friday.

 

In October, a Pentagon official told Congress that testing on AAG had not yet accumulated meaningful data, yet it was already installed on Ford.

 

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Armed Services panel, said a big challenge with the Ford-class program stems from introducing many new components all at once, instead of phasing in new systems over a series of ships. That decision was made some years ago.

 

As for AAG, he said there is no margin for error.

 

 

“I’m very aware of it,” he said, “and I’ve had discussions with people at the shipyard about it.”

 

He said the redesigned AAG “can’t work 95 percent of the time. That’s got to work 100 or 1,000 percent of the time. That is an area of real concern for the Navy. It’s a concern for the shipyard and it’s a concern for the committee.”

 

Referring to committee’s call for a full review, Kaine said, “We want the Secretary of Defense to basically give us a candid assessment of this, because we’ve got other ships under contract that are being designed. We want to make sure we are not putting our aviators at risk.”

 

http://www.dailypress.com/news/military/dp-nws-aircraft-carrier-arresting-gear-20160612-story.html

 

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Navy In Dayton: A Top Admiral Says Drones Are Future Of Aviation

(DAYTON DAILY NEWS 15 JUN 16) … Barrie Barber

 

DAYTON – A top Navy leader says unmanned aerial vehicles are an “imperative” for the future of naval aviation.

Rear Adm. John R. Haley, a two-star admiral and commander of the Naval Air Force Atlantic fleet in Norfolk, Va., said he not only sees a future for UAVs on aircraft carriers, “I see an imperative for it in the future.”

 

Haley is the highest-ranking naval leader in Dayton this week for the first-ever “Navy Week” in the Gem City from June 13-19.

 

In an interview, he talked about issues facing the sea-going naval aviation fleet, training future sailors, and the tragic death of a Blue Angels pilot, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, in a June 2 plane crash in Tennessee. The flight team canceled an appearance at this weekend’s air show at Dayton International Airport.

 

The Blue Angels are “hurting,” Haley said. “It’s a tight team, as you would expect,” he said.

 

“We’re looking at all the evidence and doing our investigation and then as soon as we can complete that investigation we’ll get the Blue Angels flying again,” he said.

 

Carrier Drone

 

Flight test demonstrations of the Northrop Grumman X-47B in recent years showed a UAV could autonomously take-off and land on an aircraft carrier, something the admiral described as a “force multiplier.”

 

“If you ask a naval aviator about unmanned drones a lot of them will say, ‘Oh, that’s a threat, they’re going to put us out of business,’ or something like that. And I think folks that think that way are pretty myopic,” he said.

 

“…It’s a force multiplier and it’s doing so without putting another guy in harm’s way and also allowing you to link (sensor) systems together.”

 

The Navy could use a UAV as an aerial refueling tanker at sea and to hoist surveillance sensors into the skies, among future uses, he said.

 

While Dayton is an Air Force town as home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it has a small contingent of Navy sailors and scientists.

 

The Naval Medical Research Unit at Wright-Patterson has collaborated with the Air Force to solve oxygen generation problems on both the Air Force’s F-22 and the Navy’s F/A-18 fighter jets, Haley said.

 

The Navy is in the midst of fixing those problems on F-18s, a process that could take about a year to a year and a half to complete, he estimated. Oxygen loss-related incidents in the cockpit have been cut in half in the past year, he said.

 

The naval research unit relocated to Wright-Patterson from Pensacola, Fla., as part of the base realignment and closure process a decade ago. The move, Haley said, has “reaped huge benefits.”

 

“We’re getting a lot of benefit, both Air Force and Navy, from the research that’s being done from the units out there,” he said.

 

Next Generation Fighter

 

Like the Air Force and the Marine Corps, the Navy has waited years longer than initially scheduled for a carrier-based version of the Joint Strike Fighter. The Navy has extended the life of and bought additional F-18 fighters to fill a fighter gap. The F-35’s development has exceeded expectations and cost estimates for the services, but Haley was confident naval aviation will glean lessons from the Marine Corps and the Air Force, both of which will fly the jet in operations before the Navy will.

 

The Marines fly the F-35B today to replace the aging AV-8B Harrier jump jet, and the Air Force expects to start to fly the land-based F-35A in operations late this year to replace the F-16 fighter and A-10 ground attack plane. The Navy will fly the F-35C starting in 2019.

 

“I would tell you that naval aviation is actually in a pretty good spot with the F-35,” Haley said. “…We’re going to be able to take those lessons and incorporate them in the airplane. Is the airplane perfect? No, it’s not perfect, but it’s going to be a great benefit.”

 

For all the hardware and equipment issues, Haley said training sailors is a key focus, too.

 

“…Sailors have to be better trained in a shorter period of time,” he said. “It has to be relevant to what we’re doing and they have to be ready for combat when we get there.”

 

The Naval Academy graduate, once an exchange student at the Air Force Academy, said Ohio’s educational system makes fertile territory to draw future sailors, even in an Air Force town like Dayton.

 

“I think that this area is very cognizant of the Navy more so than most landlocked Air Force-centric areas and so I have no problem coming into the land of Air Force and trying to recruit some great Americans to come into the Navy,” he said.

 

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/local-military/navy-in-dayton-a-top-admiral-says-drones-are-futur/nrgyM/

 

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Naval Aviation Vision: Legacy Navy Hornets Gone by 2026

(SEAPOWER MAGAZINE, 13 June 16) . Richard R. Burgess, Managing Editor

 

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy plans to retire its legacy F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters by 2026, according to its latest naval aviation vision statement.

 

“The last F/A-18A/B/C/D aircraft used by operational Navy squadrons will retire in 2026,” the Navy said in its publication “U.S. Naval Aviation Vision 2016-2025.”

 

The legacy Hornets are being replaced by the newer and larger F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to a greater extent than originally envisioned because of delays in the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter program. The F-35C carrier-based version is scheduled to reach initial operational capability in 2018 and from that time forward will replace the remaining Hornets.

 

The planned replacement for the F/A-18E/F and the EA-18G electronic attack aircraft is the F/A-XX.

 

“The aircraft designation F/A-XX is in the concept development phase with the goal to replace the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G when they retire,” the document said. “The future air wing will be an integrated family of systems that combine for greater effectiveness than the sum of its parts. F/A-XX will complement the air wing’s Lightning II, Advanced Hawkeye and rotary-wing aircraft. The ultimate concept must reliably and affordably incorporate future key technologies, including propulsion, sensors, networks and automation.”

 

The document is not clear on the retirement time frame for the Marine Corps’ legacy Hornets, stating only that they will be “sustaining into the future.” The short-takeoff/vertical-landing F-35B and the F-35C are replacing the legacy Hornets in the Corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRCSW Saves US Taxpayers $2.1 Million!

FRCSW Saves $2.1 Million!

By AECS Hooks-Kramer

FRCSW spans the globe with sites covering the entire west coast of the United States and extending out to Hawaii and Japan. Additionally, the commands voyage rescue team works on aircraft carriers around the globe. FRCSW goes wherever the Navy and Marine Corps need maintenance personnel.

In September 2015 FRCSW sailors received an opportunity to step up and save US taxpayers a bundle of cash by quickly and efficiently reacting to a crisis situation.

At the command site in Kaneohe Bay, HI an issue arose when a fire suppression sprinkler system inadvertently discharged inside a planned maintenance interval (PMI) hanger on Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Kaneohe Bay. Inside the hangar were aircraft from HSM-37 that had come to the depot for rework. When the suppression system inadvertently deployed it created a situation where the intricate components of these aircraft were put into danger of being unrepairable and needing of replacement.

FRCSW sailors were called upon to assist in the reclamation of the aircraft avionics components. This resulted in 28 repairable assets being shipped to the commands main facility in San Diego, CA. for inspection, corrosion treatment, repair, cleaning and test & check. Technical experts, led by AT1 Zackary Scott, were able to return 17 of these assets to a Ready for Issue status meaning they could be re-deployed back onto the aircraft. The team’s ability to return these items in minimal time resulted in a savings of $2.1 million in replacement costs.

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) sailors and artisans continue to step up and provide enormous value for US Taxpayers.

 

NAVAIR 6.0 taps FRCSW as quarter’s top employee

NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif. — Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Capital Investment Program (CIP) project manager Martha Hoffman was honored Nov. 6 as the Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) Logistics and Industrial Operations Competency (AIR 6.0) Employee of the Quarter, for the third quarter of fiscal year 2015.

Hoffman, who is assigned to the FRCSW Industrial Operations Management Department, plays a crucial role in providing big-ticket support equipment essential to the command’s mission of generating readiness through timely and responsive production.

Hoffman arrived at FRCSW in 2008 as a contractor in facilities. She later worked in compliance at Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Service Command (NATEC), and in her current position, supports most of the command’s major competencies.

In a joint venture with Boeing, NAVAIR, Teradyne and the Common Aviation Support Equipment Office (PMA-260), Hoffman purchased FRCSW’s Reconfigurable Transportable Consolidated Automated Support System (RTCASS-D) which became operational in February. RTCASS-D is an advanced avionics tester used to pinpoint and resolve avionics component problems, which is used for aircraft including the V-22 Osprey, F/A-18 Hornet and UH-1 and AH-1 helicopters.

When the cables and connectors for the automated wiring analyzer (AWA) that tests the avionics and electrical systems to the E2-C Hawkeye began to fail, Hoffman worked to help replace it with a new custom-made unit.

“The new AWA is specifically designed to test the E2-C and all of its avionics program tests in the aircraft and is compatible with the previous test programs we had before,” she noted.

Activated in June, the AWA will eventually be modified with new modules to accommodate the electronic requirements of the E-2D model.

To expand the command’s physical security, Hoffman purchased smart card readers that will replace certain facility numbered entry locks. The card readers are currently scheduled for installation in eight FRCSW buildings.

Perhaps her largest purchase is the 55-foot long and approximately 28-foot wide Super Hornet alignment fixture that is also applicable for EA-18G Growler airframe repairs. The fixture will be used in the upcoming historic repair to an F/A-18E Super Hornet by splicing an existing section of the aircraft’s fuselage from that of a donor F/A-18F Super Hornet.

“We finished that F/A-18 fixture and seeing the faces of the artisans when they were ready to use that product — that was the greatest satisfaction,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman’s current projects include a vacuum chamber for chromium plating and a retrofit to the Campbell grinder in the components machine shop in Building 472 here.

Both projects should be awarded early next year.

Martha

 

FRCSW Sailor Tops New Zealand Ironman Field

Bike IMNZ 2015 Bike2 IMNZ 2015 Run IMNZ 2015

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest’s (FRCSWs) LCDR Jeff Tomaszewski (MMCO)  recently competed in the 2015 Iron Man New Zealand event and with a time of 10:43:35 he finished FIRST amongst American males aged 40-44.

Jeff has been training for the better part of the last 19 years and has  competed in 10 other Iron Man competitions including the famous Kona, HI race 3 times!

Why New Zealand this time?

“Well, March I celebrated my 40th birthday, I wanted to travel internationally, I’ve heard a lot of great things about New Zealand and there just so happen to be an Ironman (IM) during the month of March. I guess you could say everything aligned!”

 

Congrats Jeff and keep up the good work!

FRCSW Mentors High School to Robotic Championship!

507P

 

507C

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest engineers have been working with various local high school in the San Diego region for more than 20 years. Cultivating a love of engineering and showing the kids that the government is involved in a number of cutting edge technologies.

FRCSW engineers and Otay Mesa High School student recently teamed up to win the state robotics championship and has qualified to compete in the world championship in Louisville, KY next month.

Congrats to the students and mentors that made this happen!