SPECIAL REPORT / MAINTENANCE, REPAIR & OVERHAUL
Cecil Field, within the boundaries of Jackson- ville, Fla., was once a busy home to most of the Navy’s East Coast F/A- 18 Hornet strike
fighter squadrons. The naval air station (NAS) was
closed in 1999, selected in the Base Realignment and
Closure process of shedding excess infrastructure after
the Cold War. The Hornet squadrons moved to NAS
Oceana, in Virginia Beach, Va.
But Cecil Field never really closed as an airfield and
now is a base for the Florida Army National Guard and
the Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Squadron
10. It also is the home of maintenance facilities
operated by aerospace companies such as Northrop
Grumman and Boeing. It is this Boeing facility to
which many Navy and Marine Corps Hornets have
come to receive depot-level maintenance, repair and
modification since 1999.
Two of the Navy’s three Fleet Readiness Centers
(FRCs) — FRC Southeast at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., and
FRC Southwest at NAS North Island, Calif. — “perform
major depot-level work on F/A- 18 aircraft, including
High Flight Hour (HFH), Center Barrel Replacement
and Preventative Maintenance Interval 1 events,” Marine
Corps Lt. Col. David Smay, Air Vehicle A-D Integrated
Product Team co-lead at the Navy’s F/A- 18 & EA-18G
Program Office at NAS Patuxent River, Md., said in
e-mail responses to Seapower.
Other depot-level maintenance
on F/A-18s is performed at smaller FRC field sites at F/A- 18 bases
such as NAS Lemoore, Calif.;
NAS Oceana; Marine Corps Air
Station (MCAS) Miramar, Calif.;
MCAS Beaufort, S.C.; and Naval
Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, according to Smay. Work on the EA-18G
Growler electronic attack version
of the Super Hornet is performed
at FRCs at NAS Whidbey Island,
Wash., and North Island.
Even with all that support, the Navy calls upon the
defense industry to provide depot-level maintenance
to its F/A- 18 fleet. The Boeing operation at Cecil Field,
along with L- 3’s facility in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada,
provide an important supplement to the Navy depots
in keeping the aging Hornet fleet airborne. Naval Air
Systems Command (NAVAIR) administers indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts that provide
depot maintenance services for F/A- 18 aircraft.
“The depots are all treated alike and the work is
divided between the Boeing, L- 3 and Navy organic
FRC depots based on the type commander’s needs,”
“Boeing has four major modification programs
that it performs at its facilities at Cecil Field,” Steve
Waltman, Boeing Cecil Field site director, said in
e-mail responses to Seapower. “The High Flight Hour
program inspects, repairs and incorporates modifications on F/A-18A-D aircraft to extend the life of the
aircraft to potentially 10,000 hours. The F/A-18C+
Program reconstitutes F/A-18Cs and upgrades the
avionics on 22 aircraft that have been preserved and
stored in the desert at AMARG [the Air Force’s 309th
Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, the
Defense Department’s outdoor aircraft storage facility
at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.] and eight fleet
F/A-18Cs that will be flown into Cecil Field for the
Rehab for Hornets
Cecil Field adds capacity to F/A- 18 depot maintenance
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
No Shortage of Work
Boeing Operations Cecil Field augments the Navy’s Fleet
Readiness Centers in maintaining, repairing and modifying the
fleet’s F/A- 18 strike fighters.
n The Florida facility processes 40 aircraft per year.
n Boeing is performing F/A-18C+ upgrades for the Marine Corps.
n The maintenance effort helps alleviate the strike fighter shortage.