NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– The data speaks for itself. Using several innovative technologies in the data analytics realm, the F/A-18 and EA-18G program office (PMA-265) sees significant improvement in the affordability and availability of fleet aircraft.

U.S. Navy Seaman performs corrosion prevention maintenance on an aerial refueling system for an F/A-18F Super Hornet in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.

Several factors influence availability; maintenance, corrosion and Condition Based Maintenance (CBM). CBM, which is executed by Hornet Health Assessment and Readiness Tool (HhART), is the maintenance strategy used to monitor the condition of assets and help determine maintenance plans.

PMA-265 introduced HhART in 2018 as a “radically different” approach to prevent component failure before it happens Throughout several years of use, HhART has reduced maintainers’ troubleshooting and resolution time, which results in faster maintenance actions.

“HhART is the result of engineering, logistics, and big data analytics coming together to attack maintenance problems in the fleet to enable enhanced diagnostics and predictive maintenance,” said Don Salamon, Readiness & Sustainment – Data Analytics Integrated Product Team lead. “HhART identifies component degradation and enables proactive maintenance planning.” He added the impact to the aircraft and the fleet are maintenance recommendations that facilitate an increase in aircraft availability and cost savings by increasing the life limits for critical components, improvements to maintenance efficiency, and reductions in unscheduled maintenance.

During HhART’s first year of use in the F/A-18 fleet, occurrences of Physiological Episodes (PEs) decreased approximately 75 percent, and pressurization-related PEs, historically tied to component failure, were reduced by 80 percent. After great initial success, the program rapidly expanded. Now, by leveraging data correlations and unique features, HhART identifies underperforming or failing systems ahead of onboard aircraft prognostics.

“PMA-265 fosters an environment for outside-of-the-box thinking when it comes to approaching complex problems like enabling CBM+ technologies,” said Salamon.

He said they chose an agile approach to quickly produce beta products and work validation and verification of the software concurrently, rather than using a standard system engineering process that could take five to 10 years to reach the fleet.

PMA 265’s Reliability Control Board (RCB) process continues to execute data-driven efforts to address corrosion hot spots identified in the F/A-18 fleet. RCB Degrader Action Cells, in collaboration with the Corrosion Action Team, executed initiatives to test and implement appropriate corrosion preventative efforts.

“We are extremely proud of our accomplishments and to be leading the way in establishing a new sustainment and maintenance culture that will improve aircraft availability and affordability across the Naval Aviation Enterprise” said Spencer Crispell, PMA-265 Principal Deputy Program Manager.

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