Naval aviation depots improving aircraft production

NATIONAL Harbor, Md.The Naval Air Systems Command’s Fleet Readiness Centers have eliminated the backlog of aircraft awaiting depot-level repairs and met production goals for the last two years, according to Martin Ahmad, deputy Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC).

Ahmad briefed the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) and COMFRC’s recent and future initiatives at the Sea Air Space Exposition April 10.

Motivated by a sense of urgency and our near-peer competitors, COMFRC is focused on delivering readiness, he said.

“We have to win the fight, and to win it, we have to have equipment on the field. To have equipment on the field, we have to get it repaired,” Ahmad said.

In fiscal 2017, COMFRC accomplished the following equipment and aircraft repairs:

  • Produced 485 aircraft
  • Repaired 3,600 engines and modules
  • Repaired more than 180,000 components
  • Repaired more than 3,000 pieces of support equipment
  • Manufactured more than 99,000 items to support supply base and in-house production
  • Conducted more than 150,000 Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) activities

Ahmad contributes the increased throughput to three major initiatives: following Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) principles; increasing accuracy of the bill of materials, which generates the demand signal for parts and materials; and accelerating the pace of engineering investigations.

Partnerships with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and Navy Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Weapon Systems Support (WSS), which supply materials and parts, and type commanders and program managers are also vital to our success, Ahmad said.

To clear the backlog, COMFRC was primarily focused on improving aircraft maintenance and modification operations, he said.

“We have turned the corner. We have met our production goals for fiscal 2016 and 2017. The main reason we were able to do this is because we implemented elements of CCPM at the depots,” Ahmad said.

CCPM is a project management philosophy that identifies constraint and capacity issues and removes them.

“For example, two years ago, we were concerned about whether we would meet our F/A-18 production goals at one of our depots. We suspected they weren’t following all the principles of CCPM, so we held a major review. Once they identified the constraints and stuck to CCPM principles, they not only met their production goal, but exceeded it,” he said.

In addition, COMFRC is also focused on completing in-service repairs—repairs to aircraft in the possession of the squadron—and increasing production of component repairs to decrease the number of in-reporting aircraft waiting for parts. To meet these production goals, COMFRC is hiring more artisans, engineers and logisticians, Ahmad said.

Ahmad also shared NAE’s Sustainment Vision 2020 endorsed by NAE leadership in October 2016. The vision attacks the entire sustainment value stream, which has been organized into four major areas: supply, manpower, maintenance planning and infrastructure, he said.

Those four areas come together in a globally managed sustainment environment—an operations center—that is distributed and virtual, where leadership at different levels can view the same metrics and make decision that effect readiness, he said.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the FRC; it’s fun to be part of the bullseye. We are collaborating with our partners and looking inside our organization to continue to improve,” Ahmad said.

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