USS America crew completes first F-35B engine swap in ship hangar

Royal Air Force test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell enters the cockpit of an F-35B Lightning II aircraft equipped with inert 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided test bombs on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during flight operations. Photo: US Navy

The new U.S. stealth jet, F-35B Lightning II, completed a new milestone during its third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) aboard USS America (LHA 6) by completing the first power module and engine swap at sea in the ship’s hangar bay.

Mark Schroeder, the maintenance and logistics department head for the F-35 Pax (Patuxent) River Integrated Test Force (ITF), said the initial at-sea power module and engine swap went well and he attributes this success to embarked Marines assigned to Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 1, who developed the new engine removal and replacement (R&R) process.

“Any time [the Navy or Marine Corps] acquire new aircraft, they are concurrently going to acquire the training resources that it takes to operate and maintain the jet,” he said. “Marine maintainers who come to work on the F-35B have typically transferred out of an AV-8B Harrier or F/A-18 Hornet squadron as those aircraft wind down and migrate out of the fleet.”

The Marines who comprise the VMX-1 maintenance team have been learning and testing F-35B maintenance procedures for approximately two years. During the engine swap on America, the team spent a week on the initial swap, making sure to account and track for each step of the process by entering each maintenance step into the Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) — a system which gives the F-35 team the ability to plan ahead, maintain, and sustain aircraft subsystems over the life of the aircraft.

“Testing the ability to swap entire engines or engine components at sea is vital, as this is the last opportunity for the Marine Corps to perform these shipboard maintenance actions in a sterile test environment before they deploy with the F-35B in 2018,” said Lt. Col. Richard Rusnok, VMX-1 F-35B det. officer-in-charge.

Share this article

Follow Naval Today

Events>

<< Nov 2017 >>
MTWTFSS
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3

Maritime Information Warfare 2017

Maritime Information Warfare will focus on the growing need for navies to develop their information exploitation capabilities…

read more >

Maritime Reconnaissance and Surveillance Technology

Over the past few years, maritime intelligence gathering and ISR capabilities have returned to the forefront of the defence industry…

read more >

Sea-Air-Space 2018

Sea-Air-Space is now the largest maritime exposition in the U.S. and continues as an invaluable extension of the Navy League’s mission…

read more >