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25 Jun 20. US Air Force succeeding with fixed-wing aircraft depot maintenance timeliness. The US Air Force (USAF) has completed fixed-wing aircraft depot maintenance on time or earlier an average of 82% of the time over the last five fiscal years, according to a congressional watchdog.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a 23 June report, said that the annual average percentages for on-time or early-completion maintenance ranged from 78-90% during fiscal years (FYs) 2014-19. In total, air force fixed-wing aircraft have spent 22,572 fewer days in maintenance than expected since FY 2014.
In comparison, the US Navy (USN) has completed fixed-wing aircraft depot maintenance on time or ahead of schedule an average of 52% of the time over the same time period. In total, the maintenance for selected navy fixed-wing aircraft has taken over 62,000 more days than expected since FY 2014.
Timeliness varied for specific aircraft types. For example, USAF aviation depots completed individual Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refuelling tanker maintenance an average of about 28 days earlier than originally projected. Other fixed-wing maintenance successes include the F-16C Fighting Falcon, completed 24.2 days earlier than expected; the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber, completed 19.5 days earlier than first projected; and the Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), which finished 11.5 days earlier than originally anticipated. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Jun 20. USAF upgrades KC-135 Stratotanker fleet. The US Air Force (USAF) has upgraded its KC-135 Stratotanker fleet with the installation of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out (ADS-B Out).
Led by Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Tanker Directorate, the ADS-B Out programme was established to upgrade the KC-135 fleet. The next-generation transponder system will enhance the air traffic control’s visibility into their airspace. Broadcasting the accurate location of aircraft in real time, the system will allow air traffic control to improve its tracking and managing capabilities with improved situational awareness. The US Federal Aviation Administration mandated the installation to allow the 396 KC-135 fleet to operate in controlled airspace.
In addition, the ADS-B Out team simplifies the installation process where the final modification required a routine flight software update and a single field-level box swap.
For the upgrade work, the team used 40 transponder line-replaceable units (LRUs) to create a rotable pool of assets.
The central Contractor Field Team (CFT) at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB) used the transponders to deliver and upgrade reducing factory upgrade time.
Additionally, three more CFTs were deployed to the largest KC-135 bases, including Fairchild AFB in Washington, McConnell AFB in Kansas, and MacDill AFB in Florida to upgrade transponders on-site.
In October last year, the upgrade efforts commenced. Earlier this month, the team concluded the modification of 396 aircraft despite the limitations caused due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The ADS-B Out programme will allow the KC-135 to maintain mission-readiness and support future missions.
Tanker Directorate programme executive officer Brigade General John Newberry said: “The KC-135 is arguably the most important aircraft in the Air Force.
“It’s a workhorse that is absolutely vital to American global reach and national security. I’m proud of the team’s efforts to keep the plane viable and operational as we bring on the KC-46 Pegasus.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
23 Jun 20. Germany halts P-3C upgrade. The German Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in a press release on 17 June that the modernisation of the navy’s P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) is being halted because of cost and technical difficulties.
The ministry said the cancellation of the upgrade was decided following a German Navy analysis of the impact on P-3C availability, a project analysis by Airbus, and an economic risk analysis. Work on the mission equipment will therefore be halted.
However, the rewinging of two P-3Cs will be completed, the MoD said.
An Airbus spokesman told Janes on 23 June that it is in dialogue with the German MoD on the halt to the P-3C upgrade.
The MoD said delays in modernising the MPA have already resulted in reduced readiness without a forseeable improvement, exacerbated by a P-3C sustaining damage during refuelling at the end of March. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Jun 20. US Navy SWRMC concludes repairs on USS Princeton. The US Navy’s Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC) maintenance team has concluded repairs on the USS Princeton (CG 59). The early repairs will support the operational readiness goals of the US Navy.
During Princeton’s recent deployment, the SWRMC Waterfront Operations were notified of an engine cooling fan failure restricting the operations of one of the main propulsion engines.
The repairs were scheduled to conclude within two weeks.
US Pacific Fleet Naval Surface Force Commander vice-admiral Richard Brown said: “Your superb coordination, synchronisation, and communication in a restricted Covid-19 maintenance environment enabled the repair to be completed days ahead of schedule and supported Princeton’s sail away.”
The maintenance team arrived on-site to commence repairs and efficiently replace the cooling fan.
Coordinated efforts were made to continue the maintenance work, addressing the coronavirus (Covid-19) concerns.
The repair schedule was later reassessed and strategised by the SWRMC maintenance teams to accommodate the mission to meet the vessel’s commitments.
Supporting the operational needs, the team and Princeton’s crew concluded the repairs six days ahead of schedule.
SWRMC commanding officer Captain David Hart said: “I couldn’t be prouder of what this team has accomplished, with time restrictions and Covid-19 precautions, they were still able to complete ahead of schedule.
“Great job by the entire team, accomplishments like this are what make SWRMC an organisation the navy can depend on!”
In April this year, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departed Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton to take part in a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX).
Designed to integrate units of a carrier strike group (CSG), COMPTUEX is an intensive exercise. In the training exercise, tests will be conducted on CSG’s ability to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea. (Source: naval-technology.com)
23 Jun 20. Lockheed Martin Under Fire Again from Congress Over F-35, This Time for Missing Spare Parts. A group of high-ranking members of Congress is launching an investigation into Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program after being told U.S. military had to spend $300m in the past five years on defective and missing parts.
The trillion-dollar F-35 program is just getting over many of the problems that plagued its early design and production and now has hit delivery targets three years in a row and recently announced it had lowered the per-plane cost to $77.9m.
But an investigation by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General said last year the office overseeing the spare parts program “did not receive … F-35 spare parts in accordance with contract requirements and paid performance incentive fees on the sustainment contracts based on inflated and unverified F-35A aircraft availability hours.”
The problem with spare parts will continue to cost the military about $55m per year, the report said.
Now the problems are drawing the attention of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She sent a letter to Lockheed on Tuesday demanding thousands of documents related to the F-35’s spare parts program. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/The Dallas Morning News)
22 Jun 20. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG) continues to grow its presence in the Netherlands with the arrival of two new support vehicles for its DVOW contract with the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). The two Ford commercial vehicles arrived at the company’s Dutch base in Leiden recently to support the field service engineers fulfilling the contract’s maintenance obligations.
Marshall ADG is supplying more than 1,500 deployable container systems in the Dutch Defensiebrede Vervanging Operationele Wielvoertuigen (DVOW) programme, to update the Dutch Armed Forces with new vehicles, containers and support equipment.
The 250th container is about to be dispatched from the MADG’s manufacturing facility in Cambridge, on route for The Netherlands.
The contract has two elements, the production and delivery of containers, including command and control, medical systems, workshops and basic stores units, plus a full support programme with Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS) and a Fleet Management System, that includes ongoing and regular maintenance.
Besides the performance-based maintenance programme, Marshall Managed Support Services Netherlands will support the Dutch Ministry of Defence with training, spare parts and specialised tooling, and a range of services on request to ensure the effectiveness of end users of the container systems.
General Manager (NL), Irha Luijk, said: “These two vehicles are the first of a number that we have planned, to help us fulfil our maintenance and through-life support of the DVOW contract.
“We about to dispatch our 250th container system and we will continue to add support personnel and equipment as numbers increase.
“Our field service engineers travel to wherever the containers are deployed, throughout the Netherlands and overseas and we plan to increase their number, and support equipment, including transport, in the next couple of years.”
The very first containers were delivered in July 2019, just seven months after the contract was awarded and these will commence their first annual maintenance schedule this July.
As well as additional dedicated engineers and office-based support personnel, the company also plans to extend its office and maintenance base in Leiden to increase its workshop and parts storage facility and to provide additional space to increase its armed force’s operation training programme.
About Hobson Industries
Hobson Industries is a private company established in 1987 by Peter Hobson, after serving as a Charge Chief Weapons Engineering Artificer in the Royal Navy. Hobson Industries is an innovative and highly technical engineering business operating to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System which is complimented with our ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System.
Across the markets we serve in, the UK and globally, we establish close relationships with the people that trust and depend on us. We specialise in the through life support management and development of Land Rover heritage military and civilian platforms – in effect, the Land Rover need never die!
Hobson Industries offer four core services that we specialise in:
We offer Land Rover vehicle builds to original specification or complete with modifications and upgrades at the customers request. All work is done in house using our bountiful facilities. In addition to vehicle refurbishment, reconditioning and homologation across all Land Rover models.
Powertrain and Transmission Units:
We offer new and reconditioned units, perfect for your Land Rover. All built using Land Rover tolerances and specifications. All for sale on our website. Additionally, we offer reconditioning services to your own units.
With over 16,000 part lines in stock, and the Asset Management programme pioneered by the company, we are able to provide a cost effective range of parts which may no longer be available. Additionally, we are offering Hobson Original branded parts to drawings for obsolete parts to help provide Land Rover owners the parts to keep them on the road. Our parts strategy ensures that all re-cycled, asset managed and reconditioned parts and units meet original equipment standards and specifications to ensure your safety while driving on or off road.
Amour – Design and Fabrication and Blast Protection
We offer armouring in steel, composite and ceramic of new and refurbished vehicles and fleets.