NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– The H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopters Program Office (PMA-299) recently met its mission capable (MC) goal entirely within its own organic lifelines. The accomplishment was achieved through the PMA’s organic implementation of Naval Sustainment System-Aviation (NSS-A), its Readiness Control Board (RCB) process and a laser-focused commitment to its fleet counterparts. The program’s readiness efforts, reliance on data-driven decision making and collaboration with fleet and industry partners have all led to a downward trend in NAVSUP’s long standing Seahawk Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) Aviation Depot Level Repairable (AVDLR) costs, or the cost of repairable aircraft parts, over the last five years.

Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Hermanjeet Singh from Cumming, Ga., conducts maintenance on a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 aboard the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Tulsa (LCS 16), July 30, 2021. Tulsa, part of Destroyer Squadron Seven, is on a rotational deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Richard Cho)

“The H-60 team sustains many strong working relationships between government and industry partners. This group continually delivers and takes pride in ownership of each H-60 that they maintain, operate or deploy,” said Capt. Todd Evans, H-60 program manager. “It is no surprise their initiatives resulted in meeting our mission capable goals.”

The leadership team leveraged the current organic work force and skillsets from within the program office and the Fleet Support Team (FST) to align available skills and resources from various partners that closely match those required to contribute and implement NSS-A pillars efficiently.

NSS-A is a modernized sustainment ecosystem designed to achieve and maintain naval aircraft readiness goals by leveraging best practices across communities to drive improvement in maintenance, supply and governance activities. Seven pillars work together to form the foundation of NSS-A. Their combined efforts reach across siloed activities to create a holistic approach to maintaining naval aircraft readiness goals. The pillars are: Maintenance Operation Center/Aircraft-on-Ground Cell (MOC/AOG); O-level Reform; Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Reform; Supply Chain Reform; Engineering and Maintenance Reform; Governance, Accountability and Organization; and Cost. Type/model/series (TMS) that have implemented NSS-A practices have seen direct results in readiness improvement. For example, Super Hornets, Growlers and Hawkeyes have achieved an approximate 34% increase, 19% increase and 75% increase in MC aircraft respectively. NSS-A continues to expand across all TMS in Naval Aviation.

Aviation Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Gerardo Quino performs maintenance on the tail rotor of a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 aboard the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1), Feb. 28, 2021. Freedom is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter-illicit drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Richard Cho/Released)

The team leverages the data collected through its NSS-A efforts in its RCB process, in which the PMA’s Readiness Cell Subject Matter Experts rigorously analyze degraders to generate maintenance practice improvements, reliability improvements, cost reductions, maintenance man-hour reductions root cause and corrective actions to boost readiness in the fleet. The team has conducted 29 RCBs with a total of 50 degraders briefed resulting in 186 projects. The team has completed 131 of those projects and currently has 55 open projects— all geared to attacking degraders. Every RCB project has an end-state to monitor or further actions that improve fleet capabilities, boost safety or save the program and fleet resources.

The program office focuses on understanding what the fleet needs to maintain readiness and make smart maintenance decisions for their aircraft. This focus has led to initiatives like the Integrated Electronic Technical Manuals (IETMs) conversion for the cadre of H-60 maintainers. The program recently converted its maintenance plans from the older MIL-STD-1388 format to the new S1000D format—one of only a few program offices to accomplish the conversion. The S1000D format update facilitates more efficient communication with industry partners and provides the most up-to-date maintenance instructions. During the process, the program team incorporated over 530 outstanding Interim Rapid Action Changes into the newly released IETMS, which provide maintainers up-to-date manuals and work directives to reduce maintenance errors. The entire conversion process was conducted through an organic workforce at the program’s FST at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. As an overall result, the team improved technical manual accuracy, increased utility for on-the-ground maintainers and reduced maintenance times to repair aircraft.

Further accuracy and enhancements were made as a result of coordinating and reviewing 39 MH-60 maintenance plans; three more than the goal of 36, or one-third in accordance with NAVAIR policy. This allows greater accuracy of 36 aircraft and three Peculiar Support Equipment Maintenance Plans relating to Logistics Support Analysis Data, updates to technical publications and provisioning data for the MH-60 fleet. This coordination involved the review and incorporation of over 1,800 comments into 39 Maintenance Plans across every Integrated Product Team.

Alongside all the readiness efforts and process improvements, the program leads the fleet in efficient, targeted maintenance with its Depot Integrated Maintenance Program (IMP). The team works with its fleet counterparts to integrate maintenance tasks while aircraft undergo maintenance in its Planned Maintenance Internal (PMI) integrating organizational maintenance into depot maintenance events. The team worked with the fleet to update the community’s PMI Operating Support Periods (OSP) to enable 36 months of true operating time for aircraft on the flight line. These directions extended aircraft on flight lines while reducing the annual number of PMI events from 150 to around 128 providing cost savings of around $22,000,000 a year throughout the NAE.

The program office puts a premium on collaboration with the major stakeholders in the H-60 community. The fleet and program work together on their Aircraft Utilization Plan which ensures the community has adequate aircraft on the flight line and buying back aircraft that require a baseline. The coordination helps the community maintain its readiness goals and ensures Sailors have operational and safe aircraft to carry out their assigned missions. Additionally, the program works alongside its industry partners in PBL Product and Process Improvement (PPI) efforts on a monthly basis. This process, which is similar to RCBs, ensures the program maximizes benefits for PBL to drive reliability improvements and cost reductions.

“We understand that we must build relationships and trust among all stakeholders within H-60 community,” said Troy Seifert, MH-60 Product Support Manager. “Stronger relationships and trust equates to shared ownerships and teamwork toward understanding and achieving common goals in direct support to our fleet.”

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