Navy, Bell-Boeing tackle V- 22 maintenance
challenges through performance-based logistics
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
to take effect,” Masiello said.
However, those high availability
rates on deployed squadrons are due
at least partly to the fact that they
receive higher priority for available
parts. The lower readiness numbers
for the remaining aircraft in the fleet
— which currently totals 131 V-22s
— bring the figure into the low 70s,
which is lower than what the
Marine Corps wants it to be: about
75 percent across the board.
It’s a challenge for a program that
has to deal with dust and sand damaging components in the aircraft. All
helicopters have to handle that challenge, but the V- 22’s half-helicopter,
“Quite frankly, the deployed squadrons do get preferential treatment in the supply system, as you would
expect,” he said. “I would be happy if the entire fleet
across the board … had exactly the same numbers,
which is what we are striving to. We definitely have a
very concerted effort to continue to optimize readiness
numbers and, at the same time, continue to have success in decreasing the operational costs.
“I think, right now, we’ve got a success story, and we’re
building on that capital we’ve gained,” Masiello said.
A V- 22 squadron currently is operating in Afghanistan,
and the program already has sent numerous tiltrotors out
on past deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as
aboard ships as part of Marine Expeditionary Units.
Masiello said the V- 22 has had 14 overseas deployments.
The program keeps constant contact with maintainers in the field to stay abreast of any maintenance
issues that need to be addressed either in the factory,
through engineering changes or other methods.
While the availability rate of the Osprey in the field has remained
constant at just under 72 percent, the Marine Corps would like to
see 75 percent across the board.
■ The V- 22’s half-helicopter, half-airplane nature makes maintaining it in harsh conditions particularly vexing.
■ Program personnel are in constant contact with maintainers in
the field to stay abreast of any maintenance issues that need to
■ Availability and readiness remain a challenge that manufacturer Bell-Boeing and the government are beginning to tackle by
partnering on “readiness initiatives.”
The V- 22 Osprey tiltrotor is no longer a new- comer in the field. It’s been nearly three and a half years and numerous deployments since
the controversial aircraft was first shipped off to Iraq
aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp.
Now, the question is how to keep the Osprey flying
in the harsh, dusty environment of Afghanistan without having to absorb astronomical costs — and how to
deal with availability rates that have stayed constant,
but too low for Marine Corps standards.
“The capabilities rates are probably in the 70s,” said
Col. Greg Masiello, V- 22 program manager. “If you
look over the 18 months the V-22s worked in Iraq,
they were just under 72 percent. … That tells me we’re
pretty consistent. They’ve not missed a single mission
or assignment out there, so it tells me the aircraft is
ready when they need it.”
U.S. Special Operations Command’s Air Force CV-
22s in the field have averaged almost 80 percent readi-
ness in some deployments, he said.
“Those are all positive signs … that a lot of the
things we have addressed and talked about are starting