NAS JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –
The Navy P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission, militarized Boeing 737 behemoth. It conducts maritime patrol and reconnaissance, long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, and intelligence missions.
Clearly, the P-8A and the aircrew who fly it play a vital role in supporting the Navy’s mission.
And that’s precisely why Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) and more than half a dozen other commands jumped into action to conduct an In-Service Repair (ISR) on a P-8A assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16. VP-16, also known as the War Eagles, is a patrol squadron based out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, currently deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.
“This is a perfect example of FRCSE rallying to get a job done quickly without sacrificing safety or quality,” said FRCSE’s Commanding Officer Capt. Al Palmer. “Despite a challenging repair, the collaboration with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 (CPRW-11) and Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) program office led to a tremendous effort from all involved. From artisans to engineers and logisticians, the ISR process took just 12 days to complete. The quick turnaround allowed VP-16 to safely return to business with one of their most critical assets.”
Before landing, the P-8A aircrew observed that the two left main landing gear tires had blown. The aircraft safely landed but incurred damage due to the tire failure.
“The pilot did an amazing job setting the aircraft down, but damage was still incurred from the tires coming apart,” said Steven Faulk, FRCSE’s P-8A Fleet Support Team (FST) Lead. “Once we understood what was required to get this aircraft operational, we had to decide on the best location for repairs— Kadena, a commercial MRO [Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul] or back home.”
Instead of wasting time shipping or locating parts, CPRW-11, Faulk and the team realized the necessary resources could be acquired at NAS Jacksonville, returning the aircraft to full mission capable status quickly and efficiently.
However, that course of action didn’t come without complications. Many Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) functional standards had to be met to ensure the aircraft was ready to fly, but once the plane was deemed safe for flight by Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, it was wheels up.
Upon arrival at NAS Jacksonville, it was all hands on deck.
“Certainly dozens of experts from FRCSE, like planner and estimators, engineers, artisans and various other support personnel played an integral role in getting this jet airworthy, but from start to finish, it was a collaborative effort involving many organizations,” Faulk said.
“During repairs, the plane was housed in VP-30’s hangar, VP-45 donated parts and maintenance personnel, VP-8 supplied additional maintenance folks, Special Projects Patrol Squadron (VPU) 2 did the functional check flight and VP-62 flew the plane back to Kadena—just to name a few,” he said. “Everyone involved treated this repair as a top priority, sacrificing their manpower and parts, and the results speak to that monumental effort.”
An ISR is an unscheduled repair in the field, and the scope of work varies greatly. This ISR was particularly complicated—involving over 20 major components ranging from landing gear to flight controls, structural panels and more. Each part was removed, assessed, repaired or replaced and finally re-installed. An undertaking of this size would usually take months, but the team strategized, advanced and overcame, getting it back to the warfighter in record time.
“The entire process was a culminated team effort with several squadrons pitching in manpower, components, hangar bay space and more during the repair,” said CPRW-11 Wing Maintenance Officer, Cmdr. Jonathan Taylor. “The NAS Jacksonville flight line stepped up tremendously.”