10 juin 2012 7 10 /06 /juin /2012 07:55



Jun.9, 2012 by Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - The US Marine Corps is switching to a new way of tracking the fatigue life of its Boeing AV-8B Harrier II fleet as it struggles to keep the venerable jump jet in service until 2030, the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says. But the USMC is also doing what it can to keep the Harrier's avionics up-to-date as possible, the service says.


"The AV-8B is completing transition to a fatigue life expended model of structural fatigue tracking vice a total flight hour model that was used originally," NAVAIR says. "This model more effectively tracks the structural health of the aircraft by recording actual flight loads experienced instead of applying a worst case per flight hour service life penalty."


Once the transition to the new tracking methodology is completed, the USMC expects the AV-8B to remain structurally healthy without major modification until after 2030. "Structural modifications are a fact of life for any aging platform, however, as the predictive models must continuously evolve to keep pace with actual aircraft employment, emergent structural modifications/repairs will most certainly persist through end of service, independent of the actual date," NAVAIR says.


While the Harrier is structurally sound, securing a supply of spare parts has proven to be challenging for NAVAIR. "The focus is on development of an effective strategy that provides improved near/mid-term availability of high and low demand repairable and consumable material requirements to maintain readiness goals while providing long-term sustainment," NAVAIR says.


The problem was partially solved by purchasing 72 surplus BAE Systems GR9 Harriers, spare parts and associated support equipment from the UK. The UK aircraft and their associated hardware were transferred to the US over a period of five months, NAVAIR says. The addition of the British hardware to the supply chain will help the USMC sustain the Harrier to 2030. Previously, the lack of spares posed a real threat to the service's continued operation of the type.


"The sale of these [aircraft] supplies critically needed AV-8B aircraft parts," NAVAIR says. "Many of these parts are obsolete with no source of manufacture. As a result, the USMC has realized an immediate improvement in readiness."


Moreover, NAVAIR says: "Future capability is enhanced by the ability to maintain aircraft operability that would be otherwise be threatened by a dearth of necessary parts."


But contrary to media reports, the USMC never had any intention of flying the British jets. Nor did the service ever consider replacing the Boeing F/A-18D fleet with the GR9. "The USMC operation of UK Harriers was not under consideration," NAVAIR says.


Other NAVAIR Harrier sustainment efforts include entering into new contracts to improve the overhaul of repairable spare parts and long-term agreements for the supply of consumables.


"It is important to note, with the introduction of the additional material from the UK GR9 acquisition, the programme office is acutely sensitive to the fragility of the supplier/industrial base as the UK leaves the Harrier community and reduces the worldwide Harrier market to three remaining nations (US, Spain, and Italy)," NAVAIR says. "As a result, the programme office is taking a 'disciplined' approach to the infusion of the material into the US supply system."


Meanwhile, the USMC is doing what it can to keep the AV-8B's avionics relevant to 2030.


"Continuing modernization of the AV-8B is a must to reach the out of service date, both from a mission systems combat relevancy perspective and a survivability perspective," says Major William Maples, Harrier requirements officer at USMC headquarters. "The aircraft is funded for improvements to the Operational Flight Program (OFP), Required Navigation Performance/Area Navigation (RNP/RNAV) capability, and digital cockpit recorder over the next four years."


The effort is designed to ensure that the Harrier is digitally interoperable with the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF), Maples says. The Harrier is a vital part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as its only fixed-wing combat aircraft. "The Harrier community will continue to bear a proportional load of Marine Expeditionary Unit and overseas contingency operations deployments through the end of its service life," he says.


The USMC has not ruled out future upgrades to the jet, and the AV-8B Joint Systems Support Activity at China Lake, California, continues to look for improvements that could be added to the aircraft. But "additional funding will need to be identified in future budgetary cycles to continue improvements to the avionics and survivability suites currently employed in the Harrier," Maples says.

Partager cet article

Published by RP Defense - dans North America
commenter cet article



  • : RP Defense
  • RP Defense
  • : Web review defence industry - Revue du web industrie de défense - company information - news in France, Europe and elsewhere ...
  • Contact


Articles Récents

  • Australian Hornets, Support Aircraft, Troops Deploy to UAE
    Australia is sending Super Hornets, a tanker and an airborne early warning and control aircraft to the United Arab Emirates where they will prepare for possible use against the Islamic State. Sep. 16, 2014 - By NIGEL PITTAWAY – Defense News MELBOURNE,...
  • Prochain colloque CESM - "L'Arctique : un enjeu global"
    16 septembre 2014. Portail des Sous-Marins « Si quelqu’un essayait d’envahir l’Arctique canadien, ma première mission serait de le secourir ». Cette affirmation du général canadien Walter Natynczyk en novembre 2009 illustre toute la complexité du grand...
  • CHUTEXTREM va fournir un Cessna au 1er RPIMa
    12.09.2014 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense En attendant le résultat de l'appel d'offres publié le 2 septembre et concernant la fourniture d'appareils civils pour l'entraînement du 1er RPIMa (on lira mon post du 5 septembre ici ), le résultat...
  • CHUTEXTREM va fournir un Cessna au 1er RPIMa
    12.09.2014 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense En attendant le résultat de l'appel d'offres publié le 2 septembre et concernant la fourniture d'appareils civils pour l'entraînement du 1er RPIMa (on lira mon post du 5 septembre ici ), le résultat...
  • Le Laplace en arrêt technique à Saint-Malo
    16 Septembre 2014 Marine nationale En arrêt technique majeur depuis fin août 2014, le Laplace s’est posé sur sa ligne de tins jeudi 11 septembre, à Saint-Malo (35). Le bâtiment hydrographique est confié à l’industriel CNN MCO jusqu’au 13 novembre prochain,...
  • Stages avancés d’officier de lutte de force navale = Advanced warfare course for officers !
    15/09/2014 Marine nationale Chaque année, le centre d’instruction naval Saint-Mandrier (CIN) organise des stages avancés d’officier de lutte de force navaledans les domaines anti-aériens et anti-sous-marins au profit de plusieurs dizaines d’officiers...
  • Airbus fait le tri dans ses activités militaires et spatiales
    16.09.2014 Alain Ruello - LesEchos.fr Airbus se focalise sur les avions militaires, les satellites et Ariane, et les missiles. Pour le reste - radio sécurisée, électronique ou encore sécurité des frontières - ce sera la vente ou un partenariat. Bernhard...
  • Nexter et Thales proposent l’Aravis et le Hawkei en Pologne
    L’Aravis « polonisé » durant le salon MSPO sous les couleurs de Rosomak (groupe PGZ) crédits: G Belan 16 septembre, 2014 Guillaume Belan (FOB) Le programme s’appelle Pegaz, le RFI (Request for Information) a été émis il y a à peine quelques semaines et...
  • Equiper les casques bleus: les entreprises françaises à l'affut de marchés
    photo EMA 14.09.2014 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense Le marché d'équipement et de formation des casques bleus africains attise les convoitises. Exemple avec la MINUSCA. Théoriquement, le 15 septembre, les casques bleus de la mission multidimensionnelle...
  • Central African Republic crisis: Minusca new peace mission
    15 September 2014 BBC Africa The UN is formally taking over peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic (CAR), where about 25% of the population has fled their homes. The new force will largely comprise 6,200 African troops already there....


Partager cette page Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest
Suivre ce blog