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FRC NW Brings Depot-Level Repairs to Whidbey Island to Boost Readiness

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070215-01
Release Date: 2/15/2007 8:02:00 AM


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Jon Rasmussen, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Northwest

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) Fleet Readiness Center's (FRC's) current integration of depot-level repair capabilities into its work centers has already saved the Navy $3.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2007.

Full integration of these abilities is planned to be complete by Oct. 1, 2008, and is already reducing the amount of beyond capability maintenance (BCM) jobs which previously had to be shipped to a depot level repair facility.

“What we are primarily doing is bringing depot-level skills into the intermediate maintenance activity to increase our effectiveness at keeping the flight line up and running by fixing parts here instead of sending them off to far-off depots to get them repaired,” said Master Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (AW) Bud Betz, from airframes division. “We reduce costs in shipping, we reduce turn-around times, and we bring a quality service to the flight line where it didn’t exist a few years ago.”

Because FRC can fix more parts on-site, the overall repair time is shortened significantly and vital parts are placed back into circulation faster.

“Quicker turnaround for the parts leads to a higher readiness state,” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Brian Martin, 500 Division branch chief. "No longer is a plane down for a month, maybe now it will be two weeks.”

Although the mission of repairing aircraft components remains the same, the whole infrastructure which supports that mission is evolving.

“With this integration, we’re not only looking at what we have now, we’re looking at the bigger picture of what else we need to prepare for when the Growler shows up here,” said Martin. “We’re not only planning for the EA-18G, but also the MMA which is going to be replacing the P-3s eventually.”

One of the biggest challenges so far has been to familiarize the depot-level maintainers, a mixture of Department of Defense civilians and contractors who previously operated under their own accounting and tracking system with the Naval Aviation Logistics Command Management Information System (NALCOMIS), which is used by all Navy aviation and aircraft maintenance commands.

“Everybody has been working as a team,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class (AW/SW) Erick Dayhoff, daytime supervisor for the Navy portion of the work center. “A lot of the people in the shop get frustrated with the new steps we have to take, but they are learning them and everybody is working really hard.”

Their team approach to the integration process is paying clear dividends in readiness for the fleet.

“We’re more efficient,” said Dayhoff. “There are a lot more parts going back on the shelf instead of becoming BCM and because of the added manpower in the work center, the parts get turned around faster.”

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