The T-AVB: A Challenge To Aviation Supply Planners CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA Aviation THE T-AVB: A CHALLENGE TO AVIATION SUPPLY PLANNERS 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 OUTLINE 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 program. 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 PAGE FIGURE 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 THE T-AVB: A CHALLENGE FOR AVIATION SUPPLY PLANNERS 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 MAG. 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 squadrons. 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 contingencies. 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. FOOTNOTES 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. 7Ibid. 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, 1983. 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. BIBLIOGRAPHY 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, 1983. 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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