News Release, NAVAIR News
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.–As the Department of Defense shifts its focus to sustainment, Commander Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC) is working toward significant improvements in naval aviation’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) infrastructure.
The Infrastructure Optimization Plan (IOP) Phase 2A officially kicked off this week, an initiative keenly monitored by Navy senior leadership that will offer an opportunity to increase fleet readiness through strategic investments at the depots.
In his opening remarks to IOP stakeholders, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Director for Sustainment Tom Rudowsky said that the expected outcomes for IOP would not just meet COMFRC’s current requirements for facilities and equipment, but put in place a solid infrastructure for future weapon systems as well. “Next to Naval Sustainment System (NSS), IOP is COMFRC’s most crucial initiative to position the Fleet Readiness Centers to support fourth, fifth and even sixth generation weapon systems for years to come.”
The average age of FRC facilities is 59 years. Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office report to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services found aging infrastructure contributed, in part, to a decline in performance that reduced the availability of weapon systems repaired for training and operations. It also stated depot equipment was well beyond their useful life cycle. That report reinforced the need to optimize FRCs’ infrastructure with updated facilities and industrial equipment.
Phase 1 of IOP, completed in October 2018, provided an initial baseline assessment of COMFRC critical production and manufacturing facilities, and capital and critical equipment. A comprehensive facilities assessment will be conducted in Phase 2A to understand the condition of FRC facilities. Facility projects identified in Phase 1 will be validated and prioritized based on type/model/series aircraft and production throughput. Data collected in Phase 2A will be used in Phase 2B when stakeholders will focus on equipment and facilities optimization.
COMFRC continues to focus on increasing the number of mission-capable (MC) F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers, a Navy leadership directive, in light of near peer threats and to ensure national security.
Amy Cannello, COMFRC Industrial Capability and Infrastructure Director, said COMFRC’s Infrastructure Optimization Plan will guide the strategic investment requirements necessary to support Naval Aviation and the warfighter for the next 75-100 years. “It is a comprehensive effort to strategically align the three industrial depots’ infrastructure with the Naval Aviation weapon systems of today and tomorrow,” she explained.
“Our ultimate goal,” she added, “is to increase throughput in support of the fleet.”