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News | Aug. 1, 2022

FRCSW First Depot to Tackle Super Hornet Service Life Modification

By Jim Markle

When the artisans, engineers and support staff of Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) inducted their final F/A-18 legacy (A-D model) Hornet fighter to undergo the Center Barrel Replacement (CBR) procedure last March, they probably thought they could take a break.

Not so.

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.

Like the legacy CBR procedure created by FRCSW in 1991, the Super Hornet SLM will be conducted when an aircraft reaches 6,000 flight-hours, extending the service life of the airplane to 15,000 flight-hours.

Super Hornet variants have been active in naval service since 1999.

The SLM aircraft FRCSW inducted on June 29 has approximately 6,200 flight-hours logged, and is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA106 from Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.

FRCSW F/A-18 Legacy & E/F Program Manager Ehren Terbeek said that the Super Hornet SLM will require less time to complete than the legacy CBR/high-flight-hour modifications because the Super Hornet procedure will not involve the replacing of major structural components.
So, the SLM should be complete in several hundred hours vice several thousand as needed for the legacy Hornets.

“The SLM will involve over 20 direct artisans as well as a team of MRO and Fleet Support Team (FST) engineers and other support groups. They have been tasked with a 17-month turn-around time (TAT) but will work in earnest to complete the project earlier than that,” Terbeek said. “The SLM will be comprised of a series of inspections that can drive repairs, as well as incorporate technical directives and standard dispositions that have been created for the event.”

“The most difficult aspect in performing the modification is the unknown of opening up a 6,000 flight-hour aircraft, the known requirements are understood by the team but it is the unpredictability of items outside of the scope of work that are always the most worrisome,” Terbeek said.

The F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office (PMA-265) and Boeing established the initial procedures for the SLM, and two years ago, Boeing delivered the first Super Hornet to complete the modification to the Navy.

Otherwise, the Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler airframe typically undergoes one Planned Maintenance Interval (PMI) every six years.

“The SLM does offer the opportunity to credit an E/F aircraft with a new fixed induction date (FID) for PMI if certain requirements are met during the modification,” Terbeek noted.

Terbeek added that eventually Block III upgrades, or avionic type modifications, will be added to the existing SLM workload. The upgrades include an advanced cockpit system with a touch screen display, enhanced networking and a reduced radar signature.

The SLM budgeted cost per aircraft is currently $5.5 million.

FRCSW will induct its second SLM Super Hornet during the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2023.

“The entire team has worked in earnest in preparation for the induction of this aircraft with just a 30 day notice. FST, MRO-E, PSLs and production have worked long hours to ensure that the work scope and packages were prepared so that FRCSW is successful in returning the asset back to the warfighter and in hopes that we can continue to contribute to SLM in the future,” Terbeek said.

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).