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Accession Number ADA600589
Title Bridging the Gap: Extending the Life of Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets.
Publication Date Apr 2011
Media Count 49p
Personal Author J. A. Cooper
Abstract Initial Operational Capability for the F-358, the Short Takeoff Vertical Landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, has been repeatedly delayed. In January 2011, the Defense Secretary placed the program on probation and moved the F-358 to the third priority behind the F-35A and F-35C. Due to the original expected IOC of the F-35B, an alternate aircraft was not procured to bridge the gap, as the cost to benefit was not practical. The Marine Corps Fleet of legacy F/A-18 Hornets must be able to continue to maintain operational capabilities to support mission requirements to bridge the gap until the IOC and transition to the F-35B Lighting II. The question lies in physically extending the acceptable flight hour limitations of aging airframes. Options such as reducing hours flown by each airframe, increasing reliance on simulator training vice flight events, or reducing or removing mission sets from the Hornet community are highly charged issues, and are currently not the solutions being sought by the service. Rather, Naval Air Systems Command is initiating a program of inspections and modifications that will extend the current flight hour restrictions to 10,000 flight hours. This measure is the latest in a series of Service Life Extension measures that have included center barrel replacements to increase Fatigue Life Expended restrictions, hour restriction extensions from 6,000 to 8,000 hours, and inspection programs to increase the allowable hour limitations to 8,600 hours. Further, a new form of tracking aircraft usage and more accurately projecting future usage is currently being designed. This Integrated Master Plan tracking program could allow for the most appropriate shifting of individual airframes between units and between the Navy and Marine Corps to maximize the usage of each individual airframe.
Keywords Airframes
Attack aircraft
F-35c aircraft
Fa-18 hornets
Fighter aircraft
Flight hours
Life expectancy(Service life)
Marine corps aircraft
Military requirements
Service life extension
Service life management

Source Agency Non Paid ADAS
NTIS Subject Category 51C - Aircraft
41G - Quality Control & Reliability
74E - Logistics, Military Facilities, & Supplies
Corporate Author Marine Corps Univ., Quantico, VA. Command and Staff Coll.
Document Type Thesis
Title Note Master's thesis.
NTIS Issue Number 1421
Contract Number N/A

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