Budget Constraints Require Navy to Choose Three Critical Avionic Components to Receive Attention from Among Dozens That Need to be Addressed
By the AvCIP team and Rob Koon, 1.0 / NAVAIR Public Affairs
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - Earlier this year the Navys Avionics Component Improvement Program (AvCIP) Integrated Product Team put out a call for proposals to address problem avionic systems to be worked on during fiscal year 2007. In August, the ten best submissions were reviewed by a working group comprised of representatives from Naval Air Systems Command, Marine Corps avionics officers, Navy resource sponsors, Naval Inventory Control Point Logistics managers and different subject matter experts, and three were selected.
AvCIP was established by the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Business Initiatives Council to provide resources to address current critical readiness issues, top repair cost drivers, and impending supportability problems such as obsolescence or diminishing sources. PMA209, Air Combat Electronics currently manages the AvCIP program for the Naval Aviation Enterprise.
"There are dozens of problem components that need attention but cannot compete for funding in the higher level budgeting process, said Capt. Greg Silvernagel, program manger, Air Combat Electronics. AvCIP provides a method to rapidly find and fix problem avionic systems, boost readiness and significantly reduce repair costs."
Projects were reviewed on several levels: how close they were to a proposed fix to the problem (usually a redesign or qualification of a similar modern component); urgency of need; return on investment; and the ability to fix the problem. All avionics managers from all platforms and supporting systems, common or unique, legacy or in-production, are eligible to receive funding to fix their worst performing components.
The following three component improvement projects were selected.
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Radar Altimeter. This component is wearing out faster than planned due to vibrations. A shock-mounted tray will be installed to eliminate this failure. It is expected to bring performance up to that seen in the F/A-18C/D Hornet models. This change is expected to save more than $10 million in repair costs over the next ten years, and $25 million over the life cycle of the jet.
MH-60R/S Air Data Computer. The current unit has a diaphragm seal leak that requires it to be replaced every three years. Army Blackhawk helicopters already have an enhanced solid-state version of this component that eliminates this failure. Installing this upgraded component into the helicopters coming off the production line is expected to save $7.5 million in repair costs over the next 20 years.
EA-6B Prowlers ARN-84 TACAN. The Prowlers are the last users of this old tactical navigation system, which is only lasting 36 hours on the aircraft before needing replacement. AvCIP funds will support the integration and qualification of the newer ARN-153 advanced digital tactical airborne navigation system. This initiative will remove the old system from the inventory, reduce logistics management overhead costs, provide commonality, increase Prowler readiness levels, eliminate impending obsolescence issues, and significantly reduce the $2 million per year repair costs. Total savings are estimated at $8.5 million.
The AvCIP IPT will be placing a call for fiscal year 2008 project proposals in January 2007. Projects will be reviewed early next summer and those selected will be eligible for fiscal year 2008 funding when it arrives.