NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Improving Readiness to get aircraft back in the fight as soon as possible is the mission of the Fleet Readiness Centers (FRC). A detachment of FRC Northwest brings increased Readiness by putting Intermediate-level maintenance capabilities alongside forward-deployed squadrons.

A VAN Operational Detachment (VANOPDET) from FRC Northwest, stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, recently prepared Mobile Maintenance Facilities, also known as VANs, to support a deploying squadron.  The VANs, which are about half the size of a standard tractor-trailer, contain tools, equipment, parts and other items to support maintenance operations.


Trucks are loaded with Mobile Maintenance Facilities from Fleet Readiness Center Northwest. The Facilities, also known as VANs, will deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility to provide intermediate-level maintenance support to forward-deployed ground-based expeditionary squadrons. (U.S. Navy photo/released)

The VANOPDET will also deploy with aviation maintenance Sailors.

“This will be the first time a VANOPDET has deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility in over a decade to support expeditionary squadrons,” said Cmdr. Al Palmer, FRC Northwest commander.  “While deployed, these complexes will support a variety of maintenance shops, supply support spaces, production control facilities and other functions necessary to sustain the support of tactical aircraft and other tactical systems during combat operations.”

A Fleet Readiness Center Northwest Sailor prepares equipment in a Mobile Maintenance Facility, also called a VAN, for deployment. The VAN will help provide intermediate-level maintenance support to forward-deployed ground-based expeditionary squadrons. (U.S. Navy photo/released)

The 5th Fleet area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea. This includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.