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News | Feb. 7, 2017

FRCSW/COMFRC Top News Clips - Week of January 30, 2017

By frcsw

  1. Mentoring the "foundation" of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast
  2. FRCSW H-60 Facility Increases Seahawk Throughput
  1. Davis: Marines Making Aviation Readiness Headway
  2. Top Marine aviator: If I dont get more money, Ill stop flying in July or August'
  3. Navy Commits To High-Tech Catapults, Arresting Gear For All 3 Ford Carriers
  4. Trump Says He Fixed F-35 Program in Two Months
  5. The Disaster That Is Guaranteed to Happen if the F-35 Was Ever Cancelled
  6. Mattis Orders Air Force One, F-35 Reviews As Trump Opens Door To $60B DoD Budget Boost
  7. Trump Signs Order Promising a Great Rebuilding of the Military
  8. Marine Corps To Plead Case For More Aircraft, Spare Parts, Maintenance Crews
  9. Marines: Ground incidents continue to plague aviation readiness
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   WERE SOCIAL! Follow us on Twitter @COMFRC_Sustains, Facebook at and YouTube at   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ LOCAL COVERAGE +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Mentoring the "foundation" of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast   JACKSONVILLE, Fla. In honor of Naval Air Commands Mentoring Awareness Month, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast presented its 2016 NAVAIR Mentor of the Year Award, along with five Dora Quinlan Mentorship Awards Jan. 26.   Sadell Crump, a supervisor in the facilitys calibration lab, was named the NAVAIR Mentor of the Year for FRCSE. When they initially told me about it, I didnt want to cry, Crump said. But it was really touching that someone even thought to select me.   Crump has mentored several of her younger coworkers through the years, resulting in many being promoted to different positions at FRCSE. She can be her own worst enemy when it comes to keeping employees, she said. Yet the sense of pride she feels at seeing people achieve their goals and do more to help the warfighter, more than makes up for the loss.   Some of them dont even realize the potential they possess, Crump said of her coworkers. I love showing them they can do better than the goals theyve set, and then seeing them reach those higher goals is wonderful.   Like Crump, Dora Quinlan was a NAVAIR Mentor of the Year at FRCSE, taking home the inaugural award in 2013. Quinlan was the FRCSE business operations director before she passed away from cancer June 14, 2016, leaving behind a son, Derek Pierotti, a daughter, Lacey Pierotti and her husband, Wes Quinlan.   All three were on-hand to witness the presentation of the inaugural FRCSE Dora Quinlan Mentorship Awards to Phil Hatzitheodorou, a composites engineer, Aviation Boatswains Mate Fuel 1st Class Maques D. Pete of FRCSE Detachment Mayport, supervisory electronics engineer David Rolke, quality assurance specialist Marilyn Brazell and senior aerospace engineer Lindsay Colligan.   Dora Quinlan thought everyone had potential, and some people needed help recognizing their potential that's what Dora did as a mentor, said Tina Testa, a business management specialist and former colleague of Quinlan at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast. Dora was a mentor to everyone officially or unofficially.   FRCSE Executive Officer Capt. Trent Demoss emphasized the example Quinlan set by her willingness to help her colleagues, offering advice and simply being willing to listen.   Whether you call it coaching, teaching, counseling, mentorship or just caring enough to listen to someone, its important, DeMoss said. It is the bedrock and foundation of FRCSE.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   FRCSW H-60 Facility Increases Seahawk Throughput   NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Ca -Since opening its new H-60 Seahawk maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Building 325 just over one year ago, the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) helicopter program has gained operational efficiencies and staffing improvements that will send about 10 more aircraft to the fleet every year.   The intention to consolidate H-60 MRO operations from Buildings 306, 308, 310 and 333 began with a ceremonial ground breaking in December 2012.   Our quality assurance (department) was in Building 378 and our production control was in PS 154. We were literally spread out on the northern half of this island, said Deputy Integrated Project Team H-60/MQ-8 Lead Travis Cooper.   Simple things like writing discrepancy work orders would go from Building 306 to 154 to 378 and back to 306. It would take a day to get one written; or half a day if I walked it through personally. Now, all of those groups are here so this procedure can be done in minutes.   Cooper noted that multiple work orders may be required per aircraft, and that each undergoes the same processing route. Work orders are created and submitted as flaws or damages are discovered. They are not held for processing in groups.   Since transferring to Building 325, H-60 staffing increased by approximately 25 artisans, primarily aircraft and sheet metal mechanics, while the examiners and evaluators staff (E&E) doubled from seven to 14.   The biggest reason for that is because in Buildings 306 and 308 we had a single-piece flow system, so aircraft went from one disassembly cell to wash, to one E&E cell to repair, and back to assembly, he said.   Now, we basically have two lines working: So we have two disassembly cells, two E&E cells, sending them over to particle media blast (PMB) every three days, and coming to eight repair cells and five assembly cells versus three.   The H-60 MRO program applies the Integrated Maintenance Program (IMP) to assess and ensure the structural integrity of the MH-R and MH-S models of the H-60 airframe.   Under the IMP, aircraft undergo a Planned Maintenance Interval-One (PMI-1) or 2 cycle. PMI cycles are performed in two, three-year intervals. PMI-1 is done at the end of the first three-year cycle, and PMI-2 the following three years.   PMI work is divided into six sections or zones of the aircraft: zone one covers the aircraft cockpit; zone two, the cargo bay; zone three, the aircrafts fuel system and where the tail cone attaches to the fuselage; zone four covers the tail cone; zone five, the tail pylon and tail rotor; and zone six, the upper deck of the helicopter and main rotor.   Cooper noted that not all zones of the aircraft are covered during both PMI cycles.   The primary difference between the two cycles is that during PMI-2 the helicopters engine and transmission are removed, the rotor heads and transmission serviced, and the aircraft is stripped and painted. Conversely, zone three (fuel system and its hoses) is serviced during PMI-1 but not PMI-2.   As the PMI induction begins, the identified zones of the aircraft are disassembled and the E&Es inspect the zones and components for damage and wear. The E&Es also determine the scope of repairs, and assign depot-level work to FRCSW, and organizational-level (O-level) work to the aircrafts squadrons.   Degraded avionics equipment, like the aircraft weapons replaceable assembly, is returned to the squadron for replacement.   The induction is to get the baseline to determine what condition the aircraft is in. When were ready to return it well do an acceptance test, and if theres anything different, well know that it was something that was affected while the aircraft was here --- like if one of our artisans accidently drilled through a wire well be able to catch that and repair it, Cooper said.   Depending on the condition of an aircraft, PMI processes within the cells strive to achieve specific turn-around times (TAT).   Were on a six-day TAT, Cooper said. Disassembly and E&E gets six days, but repair gets 24 days because they have the number of cells that afford them that time. Repair has eight cells, because their workload is dependent on the discrepancies that are found.   Although out of the scope of the IMP, in-service repair (ISR) work is handled on major components, like cracked transmission beams, under a separate work order. ISR work in the H-60 program totaled approximately 14,500 manhours last year, Cooper noted.   In addition to IMP and ISR work, modifications and upgrades are also sizable portions of workload.   One current modification is the replacement of an outside beam from aluminum to titanium to stop a crack near the forward portion of the cabin door on H-60-S models.   The first time these cracks were discovered was a few years after the aircraft was received, Cooper said. A temporary repair was made, and now a titanium beam is being added. Each of these mods requires about 3,000 manhours and were scheduled to do seven of them per year.   An avionics systems upgrade modification is also underway in the program. It requires about 800 manhours per system, he said.   Between the IMP, ISRs and modifications, Cooper said that work in H-60 program is projected to exceed 250,000 manhours this year.   Our goal will be to get out 65 IMP aircraft a year: or 200 aircraft every three years, he said.   The H-60 program will soon relocate its hard-point and laser alignment fixture from Building 333, install additional shelving for storage, and setup 16 new wraparound stands to enhance artisan safety and protect the aft side of the aircraft transition section during servicing.   With 110,627 square feet of building to work with, all that stuff should fit.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Davis: Marines Making Aviation Readiness Headway   By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent   WASHINGTON The Marine Corps is making progress in fixing its chronic aviation readiness problems, but needs to do a better job in getting spare parts to the flight line and is working to provide the right skill levels in its enlisted aviation maintainers, the Corps top aviation leader said Feb. 1.   They also are working to reverse a spike in ground mishaps, the relatively minor accidents resulting from mistakes in moving aircraft or in maintenance, which can remove a plane from flight status for an average of 42 days, said Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, the deputy commandant for Aviation.   Thats what I call negative maintenance. Were fixing something we didnt need to fix, he told a defense writers breakfast.   The shortage of spare parts means the maintenance Marines must take parts off another aircraft.   Thats called cannibalization. Thats draining our Marines ability to do the job, he said. Theyre doing maintenance three times, because they have to replace the cannibalized part later. The No. 1 thing we can do to fix our readiness problem is put more spare parts on flight line.   The Marines have been conducting readiness reviews of their different aircraft types, which emphasized the spare part problem but also identified a lack of enlisted maintenance personnel with the right experience and skills, particularly in supervisory roles.   Although there are enough Marines in aviation maintenance, we did not have the density of Marines with the skill sets we need to make our readiness goals, Davis said.   So a new occupational specialty code has been created that will allow service leaders to track and retain the specialists they need, and have started advanced training programs for maintenance supervisors.   These are the very best Marines weve ever had. We need to give them the tools and the supervision they need to be successful on the line, he said.   After completing four reviews and addressing the problems those revealed, were doing bit better in readiness, Davis said. Last year, we predicted we would be up 45 airplanes in flight ready status. We made 44. This year we project well have an additional 33, so we can stay on track for our readiness model.   Overall, Davis said, were on track to meet our basic aircraft readiness goal for 2019 in all our operational formations.   But even with the concerted effort to get more flying hours from the legacy aircraft, Davis said the long-term solution to the readiness problem is buying more new aircraft.   Some of our tactical air squadrons are the oldest in the Department of Defense. That old metal has to be retired, he said. Bottom line, we have to recapitalize.   Davis said the Marine Corps role in the study Defense Secretary James N. Mattis ordered to compare an updated F/A-18 Super Hornet to the F-35 involved only the four squadrons of F-35Cs that will be bought to go into the Navys carrier air wings. The Marines are buying mostly the short-takeoff F-35Bs.   Without prejudging the results of the study, Davis said, my sense is, well probably validate the imperative to have a fifth-generation aircraft out there.   Asked later what would be the effect of not buying F-35s, he said there are scenarios where we just couldnt go, because the Super Hornets lack the Lightning IIs stealth and electronic warfare capabilities.   Davis said he does not know why the Marine MV-22 supporting the Navy SEAL raid in Yemen suffered a hard landing and had to be destroyed. But he insisted the Osprey does not have a problem with hard landings and noted that the accident caused only one slight injury of a Marine onboard, where helicopters hard landings usually cause more serious casualties.   The Osprey is the safest assault support aircraft weve ever had, he said.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Top Marine aviator: If I dont get more money, Ill stop flying in July or August'   By: Jeff Schogol, February 1, 2017   Without more money from Congress, the Marine Corps will have to stop flying aircraft this summer, the head of Marine aviation said on Wednesday.   If I dont get more money, Ill stop flying in July or August, said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation.   For now, Marine pilots are flying more hours than Congress has funded with a temporary budget deal and Marine Corps leaders hope lawmakers will provide more money before the end of the fiscal year in September, Davis said.   Were 8 percent shy of what we need to fly for our flight hours, Davis said Wednesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast. Were flying to our plan right now. So I would say were running hot on our budget for our flight hour goals.   If lawmakers pass another temporary spending measure for the entire fiscal year 2017, which would leave funding flat at 2016 levels, the Marine Corps will run out of money for flight hours, Davis said. However, he also assumes the country has got more sense than that, he said.   Im highly confident that no one will ask the Marine Corps to stop flying, Davis said.   But without more money for flight hours, senior Marine commanders would have to decide which squadrons could continue flying, he said.   If we had to do it, wed propose that the operational forward deployers would keep flying and the guys in the back of the bench wouldnt, Davis said.   However, having non-deployed Marine squadrons stop flying would further exacerbate the services aviation woes, Davis said. The Marine Corps has not met its goal for flight hours since 2012, and that means Marine pilots today are not trained to the level they need to be, he said.   Theyre flying safe airplanes; they personally are safe; but their proficiency and experience at dealing with things that go wrong is not where it needs to be, Davis said.   Crashes of Marine aircraft increased toward the end of 2016, and ongoing reviews show there was nothing wrong with those airplanes, he said.   Were not seeing a materiel failure component to those aviation mishaps, Davis said. Its mainly human error.   In one incident, a perfectly serviceable AV-8B Harrier went into a spin and crashed in September off Okinawa while taking part in a training exercise, he said.   That bothers me because I grew up flying Harriers, Davis said. We dont know why it went into a spin. The airplane is supposed to be very spin-resistant. Ive never spun a Harrier and Ive got 3,300 hours or something flying a Harrier.   The plane was flying with extra fuel tanks, so Davis has ordered that Harriers not carry such tanks during air combat training in case it was a factor in the crash, he said.   The antidote for human error is having pilots fly more while enforcing standards and doing things by the book, Davis said. But the Marine Corps faces an ongoing lack of spare parts that keeps many aircraft on the ground, he said.   The No. 1 thing that we can do to help improve readiness on the flightline for the Marine Corps is to fix our spare parts problem, Davis said. Across the Department of the Navy, we do not have the spare parts we need its not just the Marine Corps; its the Navy as well to sustain our airplanes and maintain our readiness goals.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Breaking Defense   Navy Commits To High-Tech Catapults, Arresting Gear For All 3 Ford Carriers   By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.   WASHINGTON: Despite congressional doubts, years of delays, and almost $5 billion in overruns, the US Navy has now locked in two controversial high-tech systems for all three of its Ford-class supercarriers. First, a week ago, the Navy announced a review of alternative systems had decided to stick with General Atomics Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) for all three flattops. Today, General Atomics announced it had also won a $533 million sole-source contract to install its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) on the third and final ship, the USS Enterprise.   The three carriers wont be entirely identical. In order to cut costs, for example, the Kennedy (CVN-79) and Enterprise (CVN-80) wont have the high-powered and high-cost Dual Band Radar used on the Ford (CVN-78). (DBR was originally designed for the ill-fated DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyers). But the three ships will share the crucial new systems that define the Ford carriers as a class, replacing hard-to-maintain hydraulics and steam with electrical power:
  • new nuclear reactors to produce more power;
  • a new electrical system (including problematic Main Turbine Generators) to distribute all the energy;
  • EMALS to launch planes off the deck without steam catapults; and
  • AAG to help planes land without hydraulic arresting gear.
  In the future, the Fords enhanced electrical system should also be able to accommodate upgrades like defensive jammers and laser weapons more easily than the older Nimitz class. Here and now, however, because Ford is the first new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers since the USS Nimitz joined the fleet in 1975, adding all these revolutionary technologies in a single ship has had rocky results.   Testing on EMALS is basically done, according to the Navy, but AAG continues to lag behind. Given AAGs developmental troubles on the Ford, the Navy had considered going back to the old-school Nimitz-class Mark 7, Mod 3 hydraulics for the Kennedy and Enterprise. But doing so would have been a big step backward for the entire design philosophy.   The combination of EMALS to launch and AAG to land is meant not only to be easier to maintain than the old steam and hydraulic systems, but also to be able to keep up a higher pace of operations in combat. Whether that will work in real life is something we wont know until the Ford begins operational testing at sea.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Defense One   Trump Says He Fixed F-35 Program in Two Months   By Marcus Weisgerber   Less than two months after Donald Trump tweeted that The F-35 program and cost is out of control and less than a week after Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered a review with an eye toward cost-cutting, the president says the project is now in good shape.   The F-35 fighter jet a great plane by the way, I have to tell you, and Lockheed is doing a very good job as of now, Trump said Monday at a meeting with small business leaders at the White House. There were great delays, about seven years of delays, tremendous cost overruns. Weve ended all of that and weve got that program really, really now in good shape, so Im very proud of that.   In reality, the F-35 has been doing better for about half a decade now. Consider that between 2001 and 2011, the program was delayed six years and blew its budget by $13 billion, according to Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the general in charge of the project. Since its restructuring in 2011, the program has hit many of its milestones, though Bogdan said last month that the program might need $532 million more to complete flight testing and the Pentagons testing office warned of possible delays to come.   And the cost of the jet has been declining rather steadily for five years, a Defense One analysis found. Since 2007, the Pentagon has ordered nine batches of F-35s. The price tag of the F-35A the version flown by the U.S. Air Force and most allies has fallen with each order. For example, F-35As in the seventh order cost 5 percent less than those in the sixth order, and so on.   But when officials from Lockheed and the Pentagon sat down in 2015 to negotiate a price for the ninth batch, they were unable to come to terms. Some 14 months of negotiations led, in November, to a take-it-or-leave offer from DoD: 57 planes for $6.1 billion. Lockheed has until Tuesday to appeal the contract to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.   Last Tuesday, Marillyn Hewson, the firms chairman, CEO and president, was asked on a quarterly earning call whether Lockheed would take legal action. We are just going to continue to look at our options, she said.   But she also said that negotiations on the 90-plane tenth batch were nearly their conclusion. On Tuesday, Hewson said Lockheed and Boeing were close to a deal that would see the F-35As price tag drop below $100 million.   It appears to be this deal that Trump is claiming to have shaped.   I got involved in that about a month ago, Trump said this morning. There was no movement and I was able to get $600 million approximately off those planes.   That would represent about $6.6 million per plane, or about a 6.5-percent drop between the ninth and tenth batches.   As president-elect, Trump met with Hewson twice, one at his compound in Palm Beach, Florida, and once at Trump Tower in Manhattan. The aerospace CEO also was at the White House one week ago when Trump met with business leaders.   Trump also suggested that his December invitation to Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet had helped bring the cost down.   I appreciate Boeing for coming in and competing and now theyll be competing during the process for the rest of the planes, because there are thousands of more planes coming. We have a lot of planes coming, he said this morning.   What did Lockheed have to say about this Heres a company statement: We appreciate President Trumps comments this morning on the positive progress weve made on the F-35 program. We share his commitment to delivering this critical capability for our men and women in uniform at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.   Meanwhile, Trumps new defense secretary has ordered up a pair of reviews on the program. Last Thursday, Mattis ordered Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work to oversee a review of the F-35 program to determine opportunities to significantly reduce the cost of the F-35 program while meeting the requirements. Mattis also ordered a review that compares F-35C [the naval version] and F/A-18E/F [Super Hornet] operational capabilities and assesses the extent that the F/A-18E/F improvements (an advanced Super Hornet) can be made in order to provide a competitive, cost effective, fighter aircraft alternative.   Boeing has been working on a souped-up version of the F/A-18, one that can fly farther and faster than the ones flown today by the Navy.   The Pentagon plans to buy 2,443 F-35s. So far the U.S and its allies have ordered a total of 373, of which Lockheed has delivered 66, with the same number slated for delivery this year Hewson said.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   The National Interest   The Disaster That Is Guaranteed to Happen if the F-35 Was Ever Cancelled   David Axe   U.S. president Donald Trump hates the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. And that could mean trouble for his Trumps own plan to massively expand the U.S. Navy. If Trump manages to cancel the F-35, as he has hinted he might try to do, the Navy wont have fixed-wing planes to operate from a likely growing fleet of amphibious ships.   Trump first attacked [3] the Lockheed Martin-made F-35 while campaigning in October 2016. I do hear that its not very good, Trump told a radio host. Im hearing that our existing planes are better [Test pilots] are saying it doesnt perform as well as our existing equipment, which is much less expensive.   The real-estate developer, who has no political experience, redoubled his assault on the long-in-development F-35 shortly after narrowly winning the U.S. electoral college and thus the presidency in November 2016. Trump lost the popular vote to rival Hillary Clinton by an unprecedented three million votes. The archaic U.S. presidential-election system awards electoral votes based on popular votes in each state, giving large states less relative power than small ones.   Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet! Trump tweeted to millions of followers in December 2016.   Trump is correct that the F-35 is expensive and late. Even the least expensive F-35 variant, the conventional-takeoff A model, costs no less than $100 million per copy, tens of millions of dollars more than an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-35 program is several years behind schedule, but the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force have finally declared their first squadrons to be combat-ready.   A heavily upgraded F/A-18 could, in theory, replace the F-35A and the aircraft-carrier-compatible F-35C in some missionsand at potentially lower cost. But the Super Hornet could never replace the vertically-landing F-35B jump jet variant that the U.S. Marines and the U.K. military are buying for their amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers, respectively.   The nine Wasp and America-class assault ships that the U.S. Navy operates on behalf of the Marines lack the space, catapults and arrestor gear they would need to operate a traditional carrier plane such as the Super Hornet. The Royal Navys two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, while big enough for conventional planes, are being built without catapults and arrestor wires as a cost-saving measure.   The older Anglo-American Harrier has long been out of production and is quickly dwindling in number in U.S. service. The Royal Air Force retired its last Harriers in 2010. That leaves the F-35B as the only fixed-wing fighter in production anywhere in the world that is compatible with the American assault ships and the British carriers. If Trump cancels the F-35, he will effectively eliminate at-sea tactical aviation in the U.S. Marine Corps.   For its part, the Royal Navy would have to spend potentially billions of dollars retrofitting cats and traps to its two flattops.   The potential problem will get worse. The Trump administration wants to expand the U.S. combat fleet from todays roughly 280 vessels to no fewer than 350. Anticipating Trumps willingness to push for a bigger fleet, in December 2016 outgoing Navy secretary Ray Mabus formally outlined [4] a naval expansion that, among other additions, would boost the amphibious force from 31 ships to 38.   The Navy has not specified exactly which types of amphibious ships it wants to add to the fleet, but historically the sailing branch buys amphibs in sets of threeone carrier-style assault ship, a landing dock tailored for cargo and another landing dock optimized for carrying vehicles. Its possible the Navy could buy two more assault ships as part of the planned fleet-expansion, growing the current nine-vessel assault-ship roster to 11 vessels.   With F-35s on their decks, these assault ships would represent a powerful complement to the Navys 11 bigger supercarriers with their squadrons of Super Hornets. Without F-35s, the assault shipsno to mention the Royal Navys carrierscould become glorified helicopter-carriers.   Trump has not signaled how he will square his attacks on the F-35 with his simultaneous plan for a bigger fleet.   By contrast, U.S. senator John McCainan Arizona Republican who is chairman of the senates armed services committee and a vocal critic of Trumphas called on the Navy to pursue what McCain called a new high/low mix in its aircraft carrier fleet, building more assault ships in the vein of the current America class not only to support amphibious assaults, but also to relieve the bigger supercarriers of some of their day-to-day missions.   To fill out the flight decks of these new light carriers, McCain proposed [5] that the Marines buy more F-35Bsand fasterstarting with an extra 20 F-35Bs over the next five years.   Its unclear who will get their wayTrump, the Navy or McCain. The opening move in the clash over the F-35 will likely be Trumps first defense-budget proposal, which the administration could release as early as the spring of 2017.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Breaking Defense   Mattis Orders Air Force One, F-35 Reviews As Trump Opens Door To $60B DoD Budget Boost   By Colin Clark   WASHINGTON: After weeks of uncertainty and mounting evidence that only larger deficits were the path to a significant boost to the US military, President Trump has signaled the fiscal spigots will be opened in the interests of a larger and more capable US military.   I think its significant in signaling this is a priority among the alphabet soup list of growing priorities for the new administration and Congress, Mackenzie Eaglen, a member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors, says in an email. But it still doesnt change much the trajectory of his overall federal budget under (OMB director nominee Mick) Mulvaney.   What it does mean is that the buildup will ultimately get done (mostly through debt-financing) after this Congress bangs its head against the wall of the forthcoming ideologically radical budget and watching it fail at a later date, Eaglen said. Eaglen had predicted Trumps policy choice earlier and made clear in the piece what his choices are.   Sen. John McCain appears to have helped prepare this battlefield, slamming Trumps pick for OMB director, Mike Mulvaney, earlier this week for voting against military spending as a member of the House. Although McCain has said he might oppose Mulvaneys nomination, it now looks as if the House member will squeak through.   Sean Hannity, one of Trumps favorite Fox broadcasters, asked the president last night how important a balanced budget is to him.   I want a balanced budget eventually. But I want to have a strong military. To me, thats much more important than anything, Trump said, leaving little room for him to be misinterpreted.   The president has trumpeted how he is going to help control the costs of weapons and he told Hannity: And Im negotiating the price of airplanes, can you believe this But I understand airplanes. Ive bought a lot of airplanes.   Defense Secretary Jim Mattis today ordered complete program reviews of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Air Force One programs, carefully noting in the memos that both are critical acquisition programs. Appearing to indicate that Air Force One is the lower hanging fruit, Mattis said Deputy Defense Bob Work will execute the review with an eye to substantially reduce the programs cost while delivering critical capabilities. The F-35 review is being done to significantly reduce costs.   During his interview with Hannity, Trump claimed he cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasnt like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the planes going to be better. Its unclear whether Trump was pointing to the F-35 or to Air Force One, both of which he has lambasted for high costs. It is clear that Trumps public pressure on Lockheed Martin, builder of the F-35, appears to have them more publicly amenable to agreeing to lower costs. But well have to see what LRIP 10, the next batch, looks like.   Of course, the F-35s cost has been dropping for several years now, and Air Force One is only budgeted for $170 million in spending so far, although the program is estimated to eventually cost $3.73 billion. The main drivers for Air Force One costs are, of course, survivability and communications. The Secret Service plays a major if usually unacknowledged role in setting the requirements for the plane and for the helicopters used to ferry the president and his top aides. So if the president really wants to control costs for Air Force One, he may need to push the people who protect him to lower their sights.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Defense News   Trump Signs Order Promising a Great Rebuilding of the Military   By: Aaron Mehta   Updated 1/27/2017 at 7:24 PM EST with the text of the executive order.   WASHINGTON President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order that will lead to what he called "a great rebuilding" of the military.   The directive, signed during the commander in chief's first visit to the Pentagon, calls for reviews of readiness capabilities, as well as formal looks at the nuclear and missile defense portfolios now in the hands of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was officially sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence during the visit.   During a brief speech, Trump described the American military as "the greatest force for justice and peace and goodness that have ever walked the face of this earth. Your legacy exists everywhere in the world today where people are more free, more prosperous, and more secure because of the United States of America."   As a result, Trump said signing what he called an "executive action" would lead to "developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools for our men and women in uniform, and Im very proud to be doing that.   "As we prepare our budget request of Congress, and I think Congress is going to be very happy to see it, our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace. And we do want peace," he added.   A draft of the order was published online Thursday by the Washington Post. As part of that draft order, the Pentagon was directed to conduct a 30-day review of the US-led effort to defeat the Islamic State group, and to evaluate how prepared the American military is to deal with near-peer competitors like Russia and China. It also instructed the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop within 90 days an emergency budget amendment to boost military spending this year, and for Mattis to update and revise existing budget plans for fiscal year 2018, the Post reported. Finally, the draft requested Mattis develop a new national security plan by next January, which would include plans for modernizing the nuclear forces and developing new missile defense capabilities.   However, the final version of the language, released late Friday, varies from the draft version.   In the actual signed version, the focus is on improving readiness long term. The language ordering updates to the FY18 budget on a timetable are no longer there, instead replaced with a broader order to "develop levels" for 2018 in conjunction with OMB. The report now orders a full-up Nuclear Posture Review and a Ballistic Missile Defense Review, which will be led by the department.   Perhaps most notably, the final language does not include any mention of the Pentagon drafting a nationals security plan, instead directing the secretary to develop a National Defense Strategy "upon transmission of a new National Security Strategy to Congress." Loren DeJonge Schulman, a former official at the National Security Council and the Pentagon, now with the Center for a New American Security, said that language was a particularly odd aspect of the draft.   While a new administration giving written guidance to the Department of Defense on its strategy and budget isn't unprecedented, the draft EO is both strange and problematic, Schulman said earlier in the day. It's a major case of putting the cart before the horse. Telling the department where and how to invest before the administration conducts any review of its strategy isn't just bad process, it's bad for the military.   Written commander's intent is nothing new at DoD, but giving this text force of law for the executive branch is overkill - the content of the EO could just as easily be conveyed to Mattis as marching orders. But an EO gives it a public (and press) component since they have to be published on the federal register, Schulman noted.   More specifically, Schulman raised questions about the order for the Pentagon to develop a national strategy rather than the NSC.   Buried in the text is a huge issue: tasking DoD to develop a national security strategy, she said. The National Security Strategy is a report transmitted by the president to Congress and normally drafted by the president's national security staff. Assigning the pen to the Pentagon is unprecedented and bizarre.   That issue now appears to be a non-issue, although other questions have now arisen. In particular, it is unclear at the moment exactly how much the executive order can do about the budget a view the House Armed Services Committees Democrats made clear in a tweet during the event, when it sent out a note that "Fun fact: Under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has the exclusive power to rebuild the military."   Another potential challenge with the order is the expected clash between what the Pentagon wants and the views of Trumps nominee to head OMB, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.. Mulvaney strict budget hawk who is widely expected to refuse budget increases unless they are balanced out with cost cuts from elsewhere in the government, and defense analysts generally agree that for Trump to reach the heights of military spending he seeks, he will have to increase the defense budget significantly, something that could be a challenge under Mulvaneys strict guidelines.   Todd Harrison, a budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also notes that pushing out any sort of budget move out of OMB in the near term may be difficult, as Mulvaneys views are likely to clash with those of the professional staff who have been there a while requiring Mulvaney and his team to go back and redo much of the preliminary work that has been laid down already.   Before signing the executive order on Friday, Trump convened an hourlong meeting with Mattis, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, who runs the National Guard Bureau. They were joined by Pence and the president's national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, a defense official said.   The meeting was run by Trump and focused predominantly on his desire to "accelerate the defeat of ISIS," the official said. The president set no deadlines, however, and "the chiefs did most of the talking," the official added. The discussion, he said, was "very cordial."   "I think everyone's in agreement that we want to defeat ISIS quickly," the official said.   The leaders also discussed the president's focus on rebuilding the military and improving its ability to respond to contingencies.   At the meeting's outset, Trump as provided with a briefing on the military's geographic combatant commands, which oversee US military operations throughout specific parts of the world, the official said. "And then there was an interesting discussion on the role of the National Guard, and how they work for state governors."   The full text of the executive order is as follows:   By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including my authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I hereby direct the following:   Section 1. Policy. To pursue peace through strength, it shall be the policy of the United States to rebuild the U.S. Armed Forces.   Sec. 2. Readiness.   (a) The Secretary of Defense (Secretary) shall conduct a 30-day Readiness Review. As part of this review, the Secretary shall:   (i) assess readiness conditions, including training, equipment maintenance, munitions, modernization, and infrastructure; and (ii) submit to the President a report identifying actions that can be implemented within the current fiscal year and that are necessary to improve readiness conditions.   (b) Concurrently with the Readiness Review, the Secretary, together with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), shall develop a Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget amendment for military readiness, including any proposed reallocations.   (c) The Secretary shall work with the Director of OMB to develop levels for the Department of Defense's FY 2018 budget request that are necessary to improve readiness conditions and address risks to national security.   (d) Within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall submit to the President a plan of action to achieve the levels of readiness identified in the Secretary's Readiness Review before FY 2019. That plan of action shall address areas for improvement, including insufficient maintenance, delays in acquiring parts, access to training ranges, combatant command operational demands, funding needed for consumables (e.g., fuel, ammunition), manpower shortfalls, depot maintenance capacity, and time needed to plan, coordinate, and execute readiness and training activities.   Sec. 3. Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces.   (a) Upon transmission of a new National Security Strategy to Congress, the Secretary shall produce a National Defense Strategy (NDS). The goal of the NDS shall be to give the President and the Secretary maximum strategic flexibility and to determine the force structure necessary to meet requirements.   (b) The Secretary shall initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.   (c) The Secretary shall initiate a new Ballistic Missile Defense Review to identify ways of strengthening missile-defense capabilities, rebalancing homeland and theater defense priorities, and highlighting priority funding areas.   With reporting by Andrew deGrandpre of Military Times.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Marine Corps To Plead Case For More Aircraft, Spare Parts, Maintenance Crews   National Defense, Feb. 1 | Sandra Erwin   The Marine Corps aircraft fleet notably the V-22 Ospreys is being flown to exhaustion in operations around the world. Crews are overextended, spare parts are in short supply and there are never enough airplanes to satisfy commanders demands.   On the upside, Marine aviation readiness has improved in recent years, although there is still a deep hole to climb out of, says Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, deputy commandant for aviation.   An executive order that President Trump signed last week requires Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to complete a 30-day examination of many aspects of military readiness, including equipment, facilities, maintenance, personnel and training.   As far as Marine Corps aviation readiness is concerned, Davis boils down priorities as follows: Increasing the number of aircraft that are available to fly, stocking up on spare parts and boosting the ranks of enlisted maintainers. He also intends to push the case that the Marine Corps needs more money to buy new aircraft.   Old metal has to be replaced, Davis tells reporters Feb. 1 during a roundtable meeting.   The Marine Corps tactical fighter fleet of F/A-18s and Harriers is among the oldest in the entire U.S. military. And the V-22 today is the most operationally in demand airplane in the Department of Defense, he says. We cant get enough of those. We cant turn the maintainers and the crews fast enough, or produce them fast enough to meet combatant commanders demands.   As the Pentagon gears up for a new budget submission which in theory will be shaped by the 30-day review that Trump directed the Marine Corps should have an opportunity to argue that we do need to recapitalize, says Davis. Its imperative for the Marine Corps to get out of the old and into the new.   Mattis issued new budget guidance that is broken down into three parts: a fiscal year 2017 budget amendment proposal, a fiscal year 2018 president's request and the 2019-2023 out-year plan.   Davis says more resources will be sought for spare parts, flying hours, maintenance crews and procurement of new aircraft. The president is putting pressure on the people who build our airplanes to come up with a better price, he says, in reference to Trumps individual meetings with the CEOs of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Well see what they come up with.   In a separate review, the Defense Department will investigate whether an upgraded F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to be proposed by Boeing could replace the F-35C naval variant of the joint strike fighter. The Marine Corps intends to buy 353 vertical takeoff F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs. Davis would not comment on the review but says he expects it to validate the current requirement.   With regard to the V-22, Davis suggests the Marine Corps might seek to increase the approved requirement of 460 aircraft if the Trump administration directs the Pentagon to grow the Marine Corps.   The Corps is still acquiring new V-22s from the manufacturer a Boeing and Bell Helicopter consortium. The Osprey is now the services primary personnel carrier, so a larger Corps would require more airplanes, Davis says.   Under a five-year contract signed in 2013, the Navy is buying 99 V-22s: 92 MV-22s for the Marine Corps and seven CV-22s for the Air Force Special Operations Command. Davis noted that the Marine Corps has loaned 12 Ospreys to the Navy for carrier-based operations but expects to get those aircraft back. The $70 million apiece aircraft became operational in 2007 and has become a workhorse.   The upkeep of the V-22 fleet has been complicated because over the years units have customized and modified aircraft with various subsystems for different missions. The current fleet of nearly 300 V-22s includes 77 different configurations.   The Marine Corps has funded a program to begin standardizing the oldest 129 aircraft to match the more modern versions. It makes it hard to maintain readiness when you have to maintain 77 variants, Davis says. The Marines also intend to continue to invest in aerial refueling kits that turn Ospreys into in-flight refueling tankers.   The upcoming budget proposal will reflect Marines growing concerns about aircraft maintenance and spare parts. A spike in mishaps in recent months has been blamed on human error but a number of ground-based accidents were the result of maintenance blunders, Davis says. Each ground mishap takes airplanes out of the service for weeks.   Because there are not enough spare parts, maintainers cannibalize other aircraft. Thats negative maintenance, says Davis. Attacking those things will allow us to have more airplanes on the flight line. The best thing we can do for readiness is fix our spare parts problem. Across the Department of the Navy, we do not have the spare parts to sustain our aircraft.   One bright spot is Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), the unit responsible for the transportation of the president of the United States, vice president, cabinet members and other VIPs. The squadron operates MV-22 Ospreys that have a 94 percent full-mission capable rate. Only 3 to 4 percent of the squadrons aircraft experience a shortage of spare parts, compared to 10 percent in other Marine Corps fleets. Im challenging the 10 percent non mission capable rate, says Davis. What airline plans on not having parts for 10 percent of its flying machines.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Marines: Ground incidents continue to plague aviation readiness   By TARA COPP | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 1, 2017   WASHINGTON The number of ground accidents for Marine Corps aircraft has more than doubled over the last five years, costing the Marines thousands of flying hours due to broken aircraft, the head of Marine Corps aviation told reporters Wednesday.   Class C ground incidents when an airframe sustains $50,000 to $500,000 in damage -- include damage caused while towing planes on base, or by maintenance errors, said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant of Marine Corps aviation.   According to data provided by the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk, Va., Class C mishaps rose from 12 in fiscal year 2012 to 29 in fiscal year 2016. The Class C mishaps are the third-most damaging type. Class B incidents occur when an aircraft sustains $500,000 to $2 million in damage and leaves crew with significant injuries. Class A mishaps occur when an aircraft has sustained more than $2 million in damage and leads to a permanent disability or death.   The Marines have said that budget cuts and a continued demand for its planes for air operations have led to the increases in all types of incidents.   In the last five years, Davis said, the Marine Corps estimates it has lost 1,023 flying days to Class C ground mishaps that have taken planes off flying status.   Each and every one of those on average those ground mishaps -- takes an airplane off flight schedule for 43 days, Davis said.   The Marine Corps reviewed the last five years of ground incidents to identify reasons behind the increase, Davis said. Besides the pace of operations and budget cuts, one of the key takeaways was that a lack of spare parts was contributing to the number of maintenance error incidents.   Theyre making mistakes in some cases because they are cannibalizing parts off one airplane to go make another one, Davis said.   Davis said the service will press for more spare parts Feb. 8 when it goes to Congress to discuss readiness levels and budget needs.

Nov. 21, 2023

FRCSW at Fleet Week San Diego

On November 8 2023, Fleet Week in San Diego unfolded as a grand spectacle of innovation and technology, transforming the Port Pavilion Building into a vibrant hub of the future.

Nov. 10, 2023

Honor Flight San Diego’s Tribute to American Veterans

Veterans Day not only offers a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices of service members, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the price of liberty and the importance of acknowledging those who have borne its cost. This day reinforces the timeless truth: freedom is never free, and gratitude towards its guardians is eternally owed. Building on this spirit of reverence, organizations like Honor Flight San Diego (HFSD) work tirelessly to show tangible appreciation to these heroes.

Sept. 5, 2023

FRCSW STEM in Action

When Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) STEM ambassadors visit local communities, their goal is to utilize the STEM outreach program to inspire and create valuable opportunities to learn for both students and educators. The program also tries to empower both the students and FRCSW employees by fostering meaningful connections between Naval STEM efforts and the upcoming generation.

July 20, 2023

FRCSW Engineer Receives Assistant Secretary of Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award

FRCSW Engineer Receives Assistant Secretary of Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award

May 15, 2023

FRCSW Comptroller Receives Department of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Financial Management Awards

FRCSW Comptroller Receives Department of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Financial Management Awards

April 27, 2023

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

April 18, 2023

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

April 6, 2023

FRCSW Ally Support Strengthens Royal Australian Air Force

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) successfully completed a first of its kind reconfiguration of a U.S. Navy EA-6B Growler for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

March 31, 2023

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest - Eliminating Waste and Improving Efficiency

For over 100 years, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has provided the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps with the highest quality products and services in the most efficient manner possible. One of the state of the art management systems that makes this possible is the “Lean” process which focuses its attention on eliminating waste and error. FRCSW began the command’s most recent “Lean” process by integrating pre-expendable bins (PEB). Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Legg, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Industrial Supply Officer, in collaboration with the other PEB managers, played a pivotal role in the improvement of PEB inventory.

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).