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News | July 25, 2022

FRCSW Supports Marine Corps CH-53E Helos

By Jim Markle

For more than 40 years, the CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter has been a workhorse in the logistical support of naval and Marine Corps missions throughout the world.
The Sikorsky-built aircraft is one of the largest helicopters ever produced by the Defense Department, capable of transporting up to 30 personnel or 30,000 pounds of cargo.
About 140 of the helicopters remain in service. They are found in naval squadrons on the East and West Coast, and those assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS) are maintained and repaired by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).
Of the more than 100 personnel who comprise the FRCSW CH-53 program, about 80 are artisans who are sheet metal mechanics (the largest group), electricians and mechanics. Other contributing teammates include production control and planners.
The command’s CH-53 program operates in Building 333 where fiberglass and component work is completed, and Building 378 where the remaining airframe work is done.
Maintenance of the Super Stallion is based upon a 54-month cycle called the Integrated Maintenance Program (IMP).

Requiring approximately 21,000 manhours per aircraft, the IMP targets structural repairs to the fuselage and includes replacing the skin, transition bulkhead, cockpit floorboard, any KAPTON electrical wiring upgrades and corrosion repairs throughout the aircraft.
After induction, FRCSW artisans disassemble the helicopter and start the IMP inspection specifications. Disassembly typically includes electronic and mechanical components so the artisans can access areas of the airframe for metalwork.
The IMP combines organizational level (O-level), or work normally assigned to Marine Corps squadrons, with depot-level work.

Artisan O-level work, which is funded through the Depot Readiness Initiative (DRI) and 1A1A, or Mission and Other Flight Operations, totals approximately 750 hours annually.

Looking forward, the CH-53E program is applying Naval Sustainment System (NSS) concepts to its operations including the establishment of a production control center to better manage maintenance phases of the airframe.

The NSS was introduced to the command two years ago to improve fleet readiness by combining best commercial practices with creative solutions throughout the production lines.

FRCSW returns about 10 Super Stallions to the fleet annually.

Sept. 26, 2022

FRCSW Navy’s Sole Maintainer of Rotodome Radar

A primary tool of the Hawkeye’s defensive posture is the rotodome radar system, maintained by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).

Sept. 19, 2022

FRCSW Paraloft Shop Oversees Flight Line Gear

The shop is manned by four Aircrew Survival Equipmentman (PR) sailors who track, update, inspect and test a variety of the aircrew’s equipment including life preservers, water bottles, radios, and medical kits.

Sept. 12, 2022

FRCSW Comptroller Department’s Plan Improves Fiscal Health

To better achieve NWCF goals and overcome ongoing financial issues stemming from various external factors, FRCSW created this “Get-Well Plan” in 2019.

Aug. 30, 2022

Vital Aircraft Parts Restored at FRCSW Metal Processing Shops

Once inducted, components are stripped to their metallic structures through blasting and cleaning methods and inspected for indications of corrosion or unusual wear. About half undergo a non-destructive inspection (NDI) to determine the cause of defects found during visual inspections.

Aug. 19, 2022

Navy Primary Standards Laboratory Operates From FRCSW

Assigned to Buildings 469 and 379, the lab is the Navy’s highest level for metrology calibration (the science of measurements) and provides technical assistance and training to shore metrology and calibration program personnel.

Aug. 12, 2022

FRCSW Generators Shop Serves Multiple Naval Airframes

Among the generators serviced are those of the F/A-18, P-3 Orion, V-22 Osprey, H-53 helicopter and the AV-8B Harrier.

Aug. 8, 2022

FRCSW Fleet Support Team: Naval Aviation’s Problem Solvers

Comprised of approximately 500 engineers, logisticians, chemists and scientists, the FST has served as the Navy’s in-service support provider for engineering and logistical solutions for more than 20 years.

Aug. 1, 2022

FRCSW First Depot to Tackle Super Hornet Service Life Modification

Once again the command is at the maintenance forefront of the F/A-18 airframe, this time taking the lead as the only FRC currently assigned to perform the Service Life Modification (SLM) to the Super Hornet E and F variants.

July 25, 2022

FRCSW Supports Marine Corps CH-53E Helos

The command’s CH-53 program operates in Building 333 where fiberglass and component work is completed, and Building 378 where the remaining airframe work is done.

July 6, 2022

FRCSW Repairs Damaged CMV-22 Osprey

The right-hand inner composite skin of the $75 million aircraft sustained a six-foot by three-foot crack with other, but minor, composite damage.