An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | Aug. 12, 2022

FRCSW Generators Shop Serves Multiple Naval Airframes

By Jim Markle

Of the many components crucial to the basic performance and safety of an aircraft, perhaps none are more important than the aircraft’s generators and generator control units (GCU), the power behind the electrical systems.
The maintenance and repair of GCUs and generators used in many naval airframes is the job of the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) generator shop in Building 378.
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.
Although the Navy is replacing the Harrier fleet with the F-35B variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, Shawn Willis, MRO deputy program manager for avionics, instruments and rotating electric, said that the shop is completing about 10 to 13 Harrier generators per quarter.
Eventually, the Harrier workload will be limited to Foreign Military Sales customers who are still flying the attack aircraft, he noted.  
But as that workload declines, the shop is preparing to accept generators of the E-2D Hawkeye.
“Capability establishment of E-2D generators is expected in Fiscal Year (FY) 23,” Willis said. “A new AVTRON (test) bench has been installed and acceptance is expected in early FY 23.”   
Workload in the generators shop is handled by a staff of 34 artisans that include aircraft electricians, instrument and electronics mechanics, electrical equipment repairers and electronic integrated systems mechanics.

The shop repairs two types of generators: Air-cooled generators that use fan blades to cool them and are typically found in helicopters, and oil-cooled generators that are used in aircraft like F/A-18s.

Generators scheduled for maintenance or overhauls are disassembled and evaluated. The unit’s rotors are removed, inspected and repaired if necessary. The bearings are also changed, inspected and tested before the component is returned to the fleet.

The frequency of generator overhauls varies by platform. Many air-cooled generators, like those in the P-3 Orion and H-53, have scheduled repairs—some set at 2,000 hours.

About five years ago the shop’s GCU workload changed when it established capability to modify one of two older versions of the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s GCU.

Artisans began upgrading the older GCU chassis using a kit of 13 new parts.

The workload standard for the upgraded GCUs is 80 man-hours, while the older version is 118 man-hours.
After the chassis’ are stripped, they are sent along with their wiring harnesses for analysis on the Intermittent Fault Detection and Isolation System (IFDIS) in Building 463.
The IFDIS checks the GCU harness connection points for intermittent shorts or opens, and can also simulate the flight stresses and conditions which Hornet aircraft endure. The IFDIS process takes about one day.
GCU components that are inspected include the power supply, the silicon controlled rectifier (SCR) which converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) and shop replaceable assemblies (SRA), or circuit cards.

SRAs are circuit card modules, held in weapons replaceable assemblies, or the containers that house avionic functions.

Willis said that the shop is funded for 57 GCU upgrades in FY 22, and anticipates completing about five every month.

Since 2001, the shop’s GCU workload operates under a Private Public Partnership (PPP). PPP are partnerships between commercial vendors and FRCSW.

Boeing served as the initial PBL agreement holder for the F/A-18 until the General Electric Co. assumed the contract about 13 years ago.

FRCSW artisans provide the labor in disassembly, evaluation and order parts from GE.

Reassembled GCUs are tested on the Aircraft Engine Components Test Stand (AECTS) and following quality assurance and packaging, are returned to GE and distributed to the fleet through the Naval Supply Systems Command.

FRCSW and GE’s Vandalia, Ohio, site are the only facilities conducting depot-level repairs to the GCU.

PPPs are also established with Honeywell for V-22 generators, and Lockheed Martin for E-2D generators.

Three years ago, the shop managed to reduce its turn-around times through Naval Sustainment System (NSS) applications. The NSS was created to bolster production throughout the command and increase fleet readiness.

“In December 2018, there were more than 80 fleet backorders across the GCU platform. By September 2021, the team was able to reduce the fleet backorder count to zero, and continues to maintain a zero back status for going on 12 months,” Willis said.   

Last year, the generators shop completed 19 GCU upgrades and repaired or overhauled 64 older GCUs and 239 generators.


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).