On the heels of inducting its last C-2A Greyhound for planned maintenance interval three (PMI-3) on August 17, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) welcomed its final E-2C Hawkeye to undergo PMI-2 September 21.
The airborne early warning system (AEWS) E-2 is the sister airframe to the C-2 transport. The Grumman Aircraft Company developed the airframe in the mid-1960s and both remain in service aboard aircraft carriers.
Production of the E-2C variant began in 1973. With its detachable 24-foot diameter rotodome radar system, the Hawkeyes ability to guard against airborne threats remains the standard for protection of naval carrier battle groups to this day.
Inducted from Carrier Airborne Early Squadron 123 (VAW-123), the Hawkeye will be transported to Building 460 where FRCSW performs in-depth maintenance on the aircraft.
The airframe undergoes two levels of scheduled maintenance: a light periodic maintenance interval (PMI)-1 at FRCSW Site Pt Mugu and FRC Mid-Atlantic, and PMI-2, or a heavy maintenance, at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI).
PMI-1 is scheduled to continue at both locations to Fiscal Year 2023, according to Jorge Gutierrez-Lopez, FRCSW Props Integrated Production Team (ITP) Program Scheduler.
During PMI-1, artisans assess the attachment points of the flight control surfaces on the body of the aircraft, the engines, and other areas identified in the maintenance specification. Sheet metal repairs are made and worn parts replaced, but if a larger repair is needed an in-service repair (ISR) is generated.
ISRs are funded separately and usually completed during the PMI procedure.
As the Navy's sole provider of PMI-2 events on the airframe, FRCSW employs a staff of 173 comprised of 120 artisans and 53 indirect support personnel at its primary hub at NASNI.
Though not a complete overhaul, PMI-2 is a substantial disassembly of the aircraft down to the fuselage. Artisans remove the aircrafts wings, engines, landing gear and tail.
The aircrafts corrosion preventive paint is removed through chemical or physical means and a thorough metal assessment is performed targeting cracks, corrosion, exfoliation, missing fasteners, and any other surface anomalies.
PMI-2 procedures are completed under the Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) program.
CCPM is a method that designates resources --- like people and equipment --- needed to complete a task in a specified amount of time. A software program called Concerto is used to manage the aircrafts throughput as well as multiple CCPM projects.
The E-2 CCPM throughput is divided into four procedures (induction, repair, assembly and test line), each with a targeted completion time for a total of approximately 220 days, depending on material availability.
Gutierrez-Lopez noted that FRCSW averaged 259 days to complete its last two E-2C PMI-2 events.
About 29 E-2Cs remain in service, and during FY 2020, FRCSW inducted five for PMI-2 and one for PMI-1.
Meanwhile, on January 23, the command delivered its first E-2D Hawkeye to complete PMI-2. Developed to replace the E-2C, the E-2D is the fourth variant of the airframe and manufactured by Northrop Grumman.
When complete, the E-2C is slated to return to VAW-123.