“Diminishing manufacturing sources, material
shortages and obsolescence are our No. 1 constraints,”
Brazda said. “Naval Supply Systems Command and the
AV-8B Weapon Systems Program Office have been
working together to incentivize industry to continue to
support the AV-8B.
“The supply of some parts it is still adequate,” she
said. “The engines are no longer in production. Parts
are the major sustainment issue.”
The parts challenge was somewhat alleviated by the
purchase of 74 ex-Royal Air Force Harrier GR9 aircraft
for reclamation of parts.
“This process requires prudent management of GR9
material to support immediate and future needs,” Brazda
said. “There are a maximum of 11 Harriers in work at FRC
East on a typical day — nine undergoing planned mainte-
nance intervals and two with special rework or crash dam-
age. Over the past five years, we averaged 19 aircraft annu-
ally. We plan to complete 21 aircraft in fiscal 2015.”
FRCE has returned to service one of the two Harriers
damaged in a Taliban attack on Camp Bastion,
Afghanistan, on Sept. 14, 2012, in which six other
Harriers were destroyed. The second will be returned to
service once it is restored, Berry said.
Brazda said FRCE had “an adequate number of arti-
sans, but we are still short support staff such as pro-
duction controllers. [We] have a lot of new inexperi-
enced workers. COMFRC [commander, Fleet Readi-
ness Centers] is working a hiring plan that is increas-
ing workforce numbers.”
Sustainment for the AV-8B is one of the areas in
which 3D printing — additive manufacturing (AM) —
was first used by the Navy.
“Additional progress in the field of additive manufacturing for sustainment of the Harrier is focused on
early testing and prototypes of additive metal aircraft
component applications,” said Justin Reynolds, a digital manufacturing production support engineer at
FRCE. “This work is in its early phases and is promising, but cannot, at this point, be discussed in detail.
We are also investigating the use of metallic AM
processes to repair engine components for the Harrier.
“As for immediate applications that are usable in
everyday sustainment of this aircraft, AM — mainly a
An AV-8B Harrier assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 311 prepares to land on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship
USS America Feb. 25 in the Pacific Ocean. America was conducting maritime training operations off the coast of California.
The ship is the first of its class and is optimized for Marine Corps aviation.