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The T-AVB: A Challenge To
Aviation Supply Planners
CSC 1984
                                 Submitted to
                        Colonel R. J. Berens, USA (Ret)
                    In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements
                          for Written Communications
                  The Marine Corps Command and Staff College
                              Quantico, Virginia
                               Major J. E. Evans
                          United States Marine Corps
                                 April 6, 1984
Thesis Sentence:  Upon visualizing the T-AVB from an aviation
                  supply perspective, it is apparent that the
                  Marine Corps will be unable to successfully
                  deploy a functioning group supply department
                  aboard the T-AVB within the prescribed
                  response time unless aviation supply planners
                  aggresively develop imaginative and sound
                  aviation supply procedures to overcome the
                  problems that will be associated with this
  I. Introduction
     A.   Initial concept of MPS
     B.   NTPF concept
     C.   Sustainability of ACE
 II. T-AVB proposal
     A.   T-AVB support concept
     B.   T-AVB ships
     C.   Response time for T-AVB
          1.  Functional MAG
          2.  Notional composite MAG
III. Problems in supportability
     A.   AVCAL and COSAL formulation
          1.  Equal aircraft population
          2.  Notional composite MAG aircraft population
          3.  Squadron of like aircraft
     B.   Warehousing of AVCAL and COSAL
          1.  Present warehousing procedures
          2.  Segregation by type aircraft
          3.  Ten day pack-up segregation
     C.   Automated Data Processing support
          1.  Effect of using active duty assets
          2.  Review Marine Corps Reserve assets
IV.  Conclusions
     A.   Supply planners role
     B.   Aviation supply community
                    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
   1.  Picture of T-AVB                            4
   2.  ANSI/ISO Mobile Facility                    6
   3.  Response Time for T-AVB                     7
   4.  Aircraft of a Composite MAG                 9
     In August 1979, the Secretary of Defense initiated the
concept of the Maritime Pre-positioning Ships (MPS) program.1
The MPS concept is based upon the need to provide the National
Command Authority with the capability to respond rapidly to
a crisis situation with significant combat power capable of
sustaining operations for 30 days.  The initial concept
called for the pre-positioning of the majority of the equip-
ment of a heavily mechanized Marine Amphibious Brigade (MAB)
on board commerical ships deployed to forward areas and
manned by Military Sealift Command crews.  Then, for a
specific contingency or crisis, the equipment would be admin-
istratively off-loaded and "married up" with MAB personnel
and their equipment which would be flown to the area.2
     This initial concept is now a reality in the form of the
Near Term Pre-positioning Force (NTPF), and is a quick fix
to what will eventually become the MPS.  The NTPF is an
ad hoc arrangement that is made up of merchant ships not
specifically designed for the purpose for which the Marine
Corps is using them.  The MPS program will evolve from the
NTPF with the acquisition of three sets of MPS's designed
expressly for pre-positioning purposes.  These ships have
been designated TAKX.  They provide not only lift capability
but space for essential organizational maintenance, an envir-
onmental preservation capability, and a tactical loading/
selective off-loading capability.  The major advantage is
its capability for on-load/off-load without port facilities.
The TAKX is superior in this regard to any merchant ship
currently being built in the U.S.3  The first TAKX comes on
line in 1984 and the remainder in subsequent years.  When
the third MPS set is in place, the original NTPF set will
come out of service.4  It is essential to note that the MPS
program will provide organizational support, less supply parts,
for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
     The MPS program had an inherent flaw in the sustainabil-
ity of the Aviation Combat Element (ACE).  The 1983 Program
Objective Memorandum's attention was focused on acquisition
of a 30 day allowance of aircraft spare parts to be pre-
positioned with the MPS flotillas as a mobility enhancement
initiative.  This option would provide for a "remove and
replace" concept of aircraft parts estimated to cost about
1.2 billion dollars.5  Although this alternative would have
significantly improved responsiveness, it was cost prohibitive
and did not alleviate requirements for strategic airlift
during the initial phase of deployment.  These requirements
include the movement of an intermediate maintenance activity
(IMA) and supporting supply department.6
     In March 1982, the Commandant of the Marine Corps pro-
posed another concept of aviation maintenance support for the
ACE of the MPS prograrn.  This concept would enable the Marine
Corps to rapidly deploy both its aircraft and the associated
IMA and supply facilities to meet MPS and other contingencies.
This alternative essentially combines dedicated fast sealift
(vice airlift) for the movement of a functioning IMA with an
additive parts package to cover the first ten days of combat
during the displacement time.  Under the concept, organic
IMA assets, housed primarily in mobile vans, would be rapidly
embarked aboard a converted Roll On/Roll Off (RO/RO) ship
homeported with the operating forces, and brought up to
maximum operational status during transit to a contingency
area.  This Marine Aviation Logistics Support Ship, tenta-
tively designated T-AVB (Figure 1), would be capable of
providing immediate support for deployed aircraft and could
be off-loaded if and when the operational situation dictates.
This alternative significantly reduces the spare parts require-
ments by providing the T-AVB as a means to continue the
current "remove, repair, and replace" maintenance approach
and enhances operational flexibility by retaining all critical
aircraft support assets with the operating forces.7   Upon
visualizing the T-AVB from an aviation supply perspective, it
is apparent that the Marine Corps will be unable to success-
fully deploy a functioning group supply department aboard the
T-AVB within the prescribed response time, unless aviation
Click here to view image
supply planners aggressively develop imaginative and sound
aviation supply procedures to overcome the problems that will
be associated with this program.
     The T-AVB program will involve the modification of two
government owned combination RO/RO and self-sustaining
containerships of the SEABRIDGE Class currently retained in
the Military Sealift Command's ready reserve force.  The
first ship is to be modified by 1985, the second by 1986.
Each T-AVB will be able to embark 183 functional maintenance
and supply mobile facilities (Figure 2), 80 accessible spare
parts mobile facilities, plus 37 other mobile facilities with
non-shipboard functioning items (i.e. shoreside mobile facil-
ities connection units).  The modification will include
berthing facilities for 300 maintenance and supply personnel
who will operate and support the IMA during the transit and in
the objective area.  The remaining IMA maintenance and supply
personnel will be flown into the objective area to arrive
coincidental with the T-AVB.  The T-AVB ships will initially
be homeported in close proximity to operating forces in the
Western Pacific and on the East Coast of the United States.
The T-AVB will be fully capable of returning to a resupply
role when the IMA and its supported material has been fully
off-loaded and released by the operational commander.8
     The T-AVB criteria requires the ACE spare parts support
for a "remove and replace" concept during the first ten days
click here to view image
of an employment scenario.  Spare parts for the first ten
days of combat will be provided in a pack-up which will arrive
with the ACE.  Spare parts required for the ten day pack-up
above the current 90 day Aviation Consolidated Allowance
List (AVCAL) are programed for procurement with the final
delivery dates in Fiscal Years 1987 and 1988.  Until the
delivery of these spares, a pack-up will have to come from
existing assets.9  After the first ten days, the T-AVB will
arrive in theater with an operating IMA and supply department
on board.  IMA and supply assets aboard the T-AVB will come
from existing parent Marine Aircraft Group's (MAG) Individual
Material Readiness List and AVCAL.  Support will then be
provided by the responsive "remove, repair, and replace"
concept using the embarked AVCAL of supply assets for a
pipeline and the IMA as the repair facility.
     The envisioned response time for the T-AVB is displayed
in Figure 3.1O
Click here to view image
     Inherent in Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Doc-
trine, the ACE of the MAB that will deploy on the T-AVB will
not be a presently structured functional MAG of the Marine
Corps, thus creating various problems for aviation supply
planners.  Current MAG structure is developed on the func-
tional mission of assigned aircraft.  The basic groups are
all weather attack, attack, fighter, and helicopter.
Additionally, the groups contain similar type, model, and
series aircraft.  The benefits derived from this organization
are the overall effective management of like aircraft under
one commander, aircrew training, aircraft operations, air-
craft maintenance, and aircraft logistical compatibility.
     Current doctrine states that the ACE of a MAB will be a
task   organized MAG, including both helicopter and fixed-
wing aircraft.  To form the task   organized or composite
MAG, aircraft squadrons will be detached from their functional
MAG to form the MAB's ACE.  A notional task organization of
aircraft for the ACE of a MAB is displayed in Figure 4.11  It
must be noted that the actual task organization for aircraft
will be formed to accomplish a specfically assigned mission
and for the facilities from which it will operate.
Click here to view image
     The composite MAG is occasionally formed for training
purposes.  The benefits of this training are realized by the
operational and administrative elements.  The aviation
supply element  receives few, if any, benefits because they
do not deploy consistent with the way they would deploy in a
real scenario with the T-AVB (i.e. 90 day AVCAL not formed,
no Automated Data Processing System support, extremely few
IMA assets deployed).  With the realization that the aviation
supply elements are not structured for training in the scenario
that they will be required to deploy using the T-AVB, aviation
supply officers will be faced with forming a group supply
department from supply assets provided by the various
functional groups of the selected squadrons that will form
the composite MAG.
     The composite MAG supply officer will have 48 hours in
which to get his newly formed group supply department to the
Port of Embarkation of the T-AVB.  One of the first questions
that should concern aviation supply planners is when and how
will the AVCAL be established for the composite MAG.  The
building of an AVCAL is a time consuming process of computing
supply support requirements.  In addition to the AVCAL, the
composite MAG will require the building of a Consolidated
Shipboard Allowance List(COSAL).  The COSAL, similar to the
AVCAL, contains additional spare parts for support of selected
end items used in aviation maintenance and supply.  The AVCAL
and COSAL are developed by the Aviation Supply Office (ASO)
and Ships Parts Control Center (SPCC) respectively.  Due to
the time and amount of work required to construct these two
allowance lists, development must be completed in sufficient
time to allow for the proper employment of the T-AVB.
However, this task is not that easy in the case of a composite
     There are several methods, three of which will be dis-
cussed, that the Marine Corps could explore to develop an
AVCAL and COSAL for a composite MAB to deploy the T-AVB.
Recently the Commandant of the Marine Corps gave guidance
that each Marine Amphibious Force (MAF) must be capable of
deploying two MAB's simultaneously.  Using this guidance for
the basis of the first option, the planners could take the
MAF's aircraft population and divide it equally, thus creating
two MAB's of equal air combat power.  With this scenario, the
aircraft mix would provide for the development of AVCAL and
COSAL records that would support either MAB.  The documents
produced using this aircraft mix would give the planners
the range and depth of spare parts allowances that would be
sufficient to support a wider range of aircraft to form a
composite MAG.  Additionally, these documents would aid in
identifying the spare parts that each functional MAG in the
MAF would have to provide upon forming a composite MAG for
deployment; however, this process would be lengthy and require
extensive manual research.
     Secondly, the planners could build an AVCAL and COSAL
using the aircraft population displayed in Figure 4 for a
notional composite MAG.  This document,as with the first
option,would identify the spare parts that each functional
MAG in the MAF would have to provide upon forming a composite
MAG but would still require the lengthy manual research.
     A third option open to the planners is to build an AVCAL
and COSAL for a squadron or detachment of each type aircraft
in the MAF.  The documents produced with this option will
give the planners a wider range of options to pursue.  The
functional MAG's would now realize the quantities of spare
parts that they will be required to provide to a composite
MAG.  If the functional MAG's are tasked to provide more
than one squadron or detachment of like aircraft to the
composite MAG, the AVCAL and COSAL quantities could be raised
proportionately.  It is realized that by raising the allow-
ances proportionately some quantities may be too high or too
low; however, these allowances can be handled by supply and
maintenance personnel expertise through advanced planning.
     These three options are similar in design, but use a
completely different mix of aircraft as the basis for the
development of the AVCAL and COSAL.  Each has its advantages
and disadvantages; however, the third option will offer
aviation supply planners more flexibility in providing the
supply support to a composite MAG.  Additionally, it readily
provides the functional MAG's a more accurate picture of the
spare parts that will have to deploy to support their
     Upon establishing the exact quantities that each MAG
will have to provide to the composite MAG, another problem
will occur.  Will the functional MAG be able to segregate
the allowance quantities from its warehouse and locate them
in storage cabinets to be placed into mobile vans to meet the
required response time of the T-AVB?  Present warehousing
procedures in the aviation supply community do not dictate
storage of spare parts by type aircraft.  The procedures now
in use separate spare parts by the categories of movers
versus nonmovers,and parts are stored in as few different
locations as possible.  The present technique will require
numerous manhours to separate the spare parts from the ware-
house to relocate them for deployment.  Additionally, during
the relocation, due to the stress of the allotted 48 hours
time frame, numerous mistakes will probably occur in estab-
lishing new locations for the spare parts,and human error
will cause some wrong parts to be deployed.
     The ideal answer to this problem would be to provide
each functional MAG with the mobile facilities that they
rate; however, due to the paucity of funds, the realization
of this occurring is not in the near future.  Prior planning
must overcome the adversities, and in this situation, we have
a workable alternative that some will argue,if implemented,
would present problems for the day to day operations of a
functional MAG.  This alternative would require present ware-
housing procedures to be modified, allowing for stocking an
AVCAL and COSAL with separate locations for each type aircraft
contained in a functional MAG.
     This procedure can be accomplished only if an AVCAL and
COSAL are established by ASO and SPCC for each type and quantity
of aircraft authorized for each functional MAG.  With these
allowance documents, each MAG will be able to identify the
required spare parts.  Segregation of these parts does not
preclude their use in day to day operations; however,
special management techniques will have to be applied to
ensure that quantities are maintained as close as possible
to a full level.  Opponents to this method may argue that it
will increase the number of locations for a particular spare
part in the warehouse, that the lack of storage cabinets
will prevent this storage method, or that this method will
cause unnecessary management work for supply personnel.  The
first two arguments are minute.  Locations in the warehouse
will remain nearly the same, as this segregation will eliminate
one or possibly two old locations and require at most, only
one new location.  The number of storage cabinets will remain
nearly the same as the spare parts taken from one cabinet will
fill another, thus not creating a need for more cabinets.
The third argument is valid, as this new storage system will
require intensified management to ensure that the stockage
level is replaced as quickly as possible.  If implemented,
the segregation of an AVCAL and COSAL for each type aircraft
will ensure that the functional MAG will have their T-AVB
support package ready for deployment well within the time
frame advertised by the Marine Corps.
     In addition to the warehousing problems associated with
stockage of an AVCAL and COSAL for use with the composite
MAG, present aviation supply planners are having to develop
a policy for the control, accountability, and warehousing of
the ten day pack-up that is scheduled for delivery in Fiscal
Years 1987 and 1988.  The control of the ten day pack-up
should be with the functional MAG supply officer.  Centralized
control at the aircraft wing or MAF level should not be con-
sidered.  With control by the individual functional MAG
supply officer, the spare parts in the pack-up can be rotated
to ensure serviceability and configuration update.  Some may
argue against rotating stock by issuing the spare parts for
day to day requirements and propose that the pack-ups be
treated as protected stock to be used only upon the deploy-
ment of the T-AVB.  This argument may have merit; however,
current support concepts have always provided for issue of a
protected War Reserve System asset for a critical Not Mission
Capable Supply (NMCS) requirement on a case by case basis.
Given that the pack-ups will be held by the functional MAG
supply officer, critical issues on a case by case basis will
rest with the respective MAG supply officer.  He would then
take expeditious action in conjunction with the IMA to return
a serviceable component back into his stock.  If the IMA
cannot provide a serviceable replacement, the MAG supply
officer will have to requisition a replacement from the
supply system using the group's operating funds.
     To warehouse the ten day pack-up, the MAG supply officer
must segregate these parts from his supply stores to ensure
rapid shipment of the pack-up to arrive in conjunction with
the fly-in echelon of the ACE.  The assets in the pack-up
should be warehoused with the segregated squadron's AVCAL
and COSAL.  This concept would have all the contingency spare
parts in one portion of the warehouse or housed in mobile
facilities identified for support of the T-AVB.  With the
pack-ups located in this manner, the pulling of assets for
employment will not require an inordinate amount of time.
     For management of the T-AVB's AVCAL and COSAL, the
composite MAG supply officer will require Automated Data
Processing (ADP) support.  Aviation supply planners must for-
mulate an answer to this problem well in advance of the T-AVB
deployment.  The feasibility study of the T-AVB points out
that the computer system will have to be identified from an
existing functional MAG.12  This alternative for providing
a computer system creates two major problems.  To remove a
computer system from a MAG attempting to identify and pull
assets, given only 48 hours, will cause countless problems
in inventory control, stock location verification, and
financial accountability for the functional MAG and ultimately
the composite MAG.  Additionally, the removal of the computer
system will effect the continued supply support for the
residual squadrons remaining with the parent MAG.  To prevent
these problems, the Marine Corps should review its AN/UYK-65V
inventory to ensure sufficient assets are available for all
     Currently the Marine Corps is scheduled to receive
seventeen AN/UYK-65V computer systems housed in mobile vans.
Thirteen of these systems are allocated to active duty units,
with the remaining four scheduled for reserve units.  Of the
four systems assigned to the reserves, only two systems can
be expected to be placed in use up through calendar year
1986.13  This allows for two systems to be placed in the Navy
War Reserve Project-Marine Corps Reserve for administrative
protection of the assets.  Operational control of the War
Reserve assets should be placed with the Commanding Generals,
Fleet Marine Force Atlantic and Pacific.  This will allow an
ADP system to be assigned and embarked aboard each T-AVB.
These systems could be permanently assigned as they would be
required by the reserves only in the event of a full mobili-
zation that results in the reconstitution of the Fourth
Marine Aircraft Wing.
     The problems associated with the introduction of the
T-AVB to move a functional group supply department to a crisis
area are numerous.  The development of an AVCAL and COSAL
for a composite MAG, the subsequent method of storage of the
AVCAL and COSAL, the method of storage for the ten day pack-
up, and the identification of an ADP system are only the tip
of the iceberg for aviation supply planners to solve in order
to successfully deploy the T-AVB.  The T-AVB will be a
tremendous asset for the deployment of the ACE's supply and
maintenance departments; however, operational supply officers
of the Marine Corps must enjoin the cognizant aviation supply
planners and both must express their views on the problems
relative to the T-AVB.  With the aviation supply community
working in harmony, solutions to the problems associated with
the T-AVB will evolve and become evident in the form of
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's).  Futhermore with the
SOP's the aviation supply community will, within 48 hours of
notice, form a composite group supply department ready to
embark on the T-AVB to sail to a crisis area, assured that
prompt and responsive supply support will be provided to the
squadrons of the ACE.
     1"TAKX Ships Will Be Named After Marines," Marines,
(September 1983), p.4.
     2 Ibid, p.4.
     3General Robert H. Barrow, "CMC FY-82 Posture Statement,"
Marine Corps Gazette, (April 1981), p.30.
     4Colonel J.C. Scharfen, "Views from PP&O," Marine Corps
Gazette, (September 1983), pp. 38-39.
     5Deputy Deputy Director, Logistic Plan Division(OP-40B),
Department of the Navy, memorandum PONP-20-2118 about aviation
logistic support, November 26, 1982.
     6Commandant of the Marine Corps, letter RPR-7-rjr/806
about Maritime Pre-positioning Ships (MPS) Aviation Combat
Element Support, March 2, 1982.
     8Commandant of the Marine Corps (Code ASL), ASN (S&L)
Briefing, dtd 28 March 1983 ( Commandant of the Marine Corps
[Code ASL]  Washington, D.C.)
     9Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Logistics), Depart-
ment of the Navy, memorandum 514E/105-83 about aviation
logistics, October 6, 1983.
     10Commandant of the Marine Corps (Code APP), memorandum
APP-32/jmp about concept of operations for T-AVB, October 31,
     11CMC,USMC,  Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF),NAVMC
2710 (Washington, D.C.,1982), p. 9.
     12U.S. Marine Corps, Feasibility Study of the Aviation
Logistic Support Ship (T-AVB), March 31, 1983, p. H-13.
     13Lt.Col. A.H. Caylao, Wing Supply Officer, Fourth Marine
Aircraft Wing, personal interview about the AN/UYK-65V assets
of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, March 8, 1984.
Barrow, Robert H.,General. "CMC FY-82 Posture Statement."
     Marine Corps Gazette, (April 1981), 30.
Caylao, A.H.,Lt.Col.,Wing Supply Officer, Fourth Marine
     Aircraft Wing. Personal interview about AN/UYK-65V assets
     of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing. March 8, 1984.
Commandant of the Marine Corps. Letter RPR-7-rjr/8O6 about
     Maritime Pre-positioning Ships (MPS) Aviation Combat
     Element Support, March 2, 1982.
Commandant of the Marine Corps (Code APP). Memorandum APP-32/
     jmp about concept of operations for T-AVB, October 31,
Commandant of the Marine Corps (Code ASL). Briefing for ASN
     (S&L) about T-AVB concepts, March 28, 1983.
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Logistics), Department of
     the Navy. Memorandum 514E/105-83 about aviation logistics,
     October 6, 1983.
Deputy Deputy Director, Logistic Plan Division (OP-40B),
     Departnient of the Navy. Memorandum PONP-20-2118 about
     aviation logistic support, November 26, 1982.
Scharfen, J.C.,Colonel. "Views from PP&O." Marine Corps
     Gazette, (September 1983), 38-39.
"TAKX Ships Will Be Named After Marines." Marines (September
     1983), 4.
U.S. Marine Corps. Feasibility Study of the Aviation Support
     Ship (T-AVB). March 31, 1983, H-13.
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Department of the Navy. Commandant
     of the Marine Corps. Marine Air-Ground Task Force(MAGTF),
     NAVMC 2710. Washington, D.C., 1982.

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