Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer acknowledged the efforts and proactive role Sailors, civilians and contractors played in achieving an overall 80% mission-capable rate for fiscal 2019 F-18 aircraft that form the backbone of the Navy’s tactical air power.
Spencer presented the Certificate of Achievement via video conference from the Pentagon Oct. 17.
Last year, the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) implemented the Naval Sustainment System-Aviation (NSS-A) to address all elements of aviation maintenance — people, parts and processes. As a result, naval aviation achieved its Secretary of Defense-mandated readiness target of an 80% mission-capable rate for its operational F/A-18 A-D Hornets, F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleets.
“The great reason we are here today is to recognize everyone on this team who had something to do with attaining this meaningful goal,” Spencer said. “It’s a job well done.”
He compared the NSS-A process to peeling back layers of an onion to find aspects that needed corrective actions.
“In reaching 80%, we learned some things and we continue to learn where we have certain aspects to correct. That unto itself is the amazing learning,” Spencer said.
The effort is a result of a partnership between naval leaders and civilian aviation experts. By collaborating and implementing commercial best practices, the NAE decreased maintenance turnaround times, improved efficiencies at Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs) and delivered parts to the fleet faster.
Under NSS, all NAE stakeholders worked as a team, said Dave Heinauer, production director, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC). “Before NSS was implemented, each stakeholder was working independently to improve readiness.”
“From the engineering perspective, the key element to enable success was an increase in resources—funding for additional people across the enterprise, particularly in the fleet support teams, the FRCs and the supply command,” said Joe Boyle, assistant program manager/chief engineer, F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office. “It was the efforts of those people who made naval aviation successful.”
“NSS also opened the lines of communication, so we could elevate issues to higher levels to get additional resources and issues resolved,” said Woody Payton, product support manager for the F-18 program office.
Now that the NAE has improved the readiness rates of its Hornets, Super Hornets and Growlers, the NAE is focusing on sustaining those rates and improving lethality and survivability. The NAE will continue to identify opportunities for further improvements, and all naval aircraft type/model/series communities are now applying NSS-A process improvements, lessons learned and best practices.
“Like the Air Boss said, we are transitioning from readiness into lethality. Now that we’ve met the 80% goal, we will continue to sustain that and reconstitute our full-mission capable systems,” said Capt. (sel) Michael Burks, integrated product team lead for the F-18 program office.
The NSS initiative focused on reforming six areas: governance board; Maintenance Operations Center (MOC)/Aircraft-On-Ground (AOG) cells; depot-level maintenance; operational-level maintenance; engineering processes; and supply chain management.
While Spencer acknowledged the efforts of all hands — from maintainers on the deck plate to senior leaders and industry partners — he recognized the following key military and civilian personnel for their achievements.
Capt. (sel) Michael ‘Sniff’ Burks, Integrated Product Team Lead, F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office
Maintenance Operations Center/Aircraft-on-Ground Cell
Dave Ferreira, director, Maintenance Operations Center, Naval Air Forces Atlantic (AIRLANT)
Cmdr. Jeff Brown, MOC/AOG Lead, AIRLANT/COMFRC
CWO4 Jim Hickman, In-service Repairs Lead, AIRLANT
AVCM Adam Bunch, Organizational Maintenance Master Chief, MOC/AOG, AIRLANT
Fleet Readiness Reform
Dave Heinauer, Production Director, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers
Chris Rice, Aircraft Department Head, FRC Mid-Atlantic
Leanna Radford, Fleet Support Team Logistics Lead, FRC East
Magnolia Love Cortez, Aircraft Production Manager, FRCSW
Wade Wendell, Components IPT lead, FRCSW
Tod Grever, Assistant Department Head, FRCW
Lt. Cmdr. Teresa ‘Ike’ Turner, Readiness Officer (RO), Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific
Lt. Cmdr. (sel) Matt ‘ Robby’ Robertson, RO, Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic
Lt. Cmdr. Phil Torem, CNAF
Lt. Cmdr. Brandon Michaelis, O-Level Reform Champion, CNAF
Cmdr. Williaml Frank, Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22
Lt. Cmdr. Michael Loomis, Maintenance Material Control Officer, VFA-22
Master Chief Joseph Coleman, Maintenance Control Supervisor, VFA-122
Aviation Machinist’s Mate Chief Petty Officer Tyler Sauer, Electronic Attack Wing Pacific (CVWP)
Aviation Structural Mechanic - Equipment Chief Petty Officer Kevin Larsen (CVWP)
Aviation Structural Mechanic Chief Petty Officer Jason Menella (CVWP)
Joe Boyle, Assistant Program Manager/Chief Engineer, F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office
Woody Payton, Production Support Manager, F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office
Mariana Magana, Aerospace Engineer, F/A-18E/F & EA-18G Structures, FRCW
Scott Goldberg, F/A-18 and EA-18G Fleet Support Team Lead, FRCSW
Jonathan Ramba, Supervisory Aerospace Engineer, FRCSW
Supply System Reform
Cmdr. Tanya Cormier, Director, F/A-18 & EA-18G Integrated Weapons System Team (IWST), Naval Supply Systems Command, Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS)
Cmdr. Jared Sweetser, Industrial Support Director, NAVSUP WSS
Lt. Cmdr. Adam Gunter, F/A-18 & EA-18G Air Vehicles Branch Head, NAVSUP WSS
Lt. Cmdr. Curt Butler, F/A-18 & EA-18G Avionics Branch Head, NAVSUP WSS
Clinton Mench, F/A-18 & EA-18G Readiness Manager, NAVSUP WSS
Lt. Cmdr. PJ Riester, Customer Facing Division, Defense Logistics Agency
The NAE is a collaborative partnership that resolves interdependent naval aviation issues affecting multiple stakeholders on an enterprise-wide basis.