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Organic Repair – Leveraging Depth and Diversification to Improve Readiness

Maintenance/Sustainment / By COL John T. Parchem and Mr Fred W. Pieper, Jr.: The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) manages over 8,700 active lines of aviation repair parts. Parts are obtained via three general sources of supply (SoS): organic repair, commercial repair and new buy. To provide continuous sustainable readiness to aviation formations, the replenishment rate must be greater than the consumption rate. Replenishment rates and required quantities are influenced by average monthly demand, stock on hand (SOH) and back orders (B/O). A number of external factors impact the procurement and distribution of these parts including: acquisition and procurement lead times, quality escapes, the political landscape (i.e., tariff implications), natural disasters, and war. Therefore, AMCOM is undertaking efforts to build strategic supply chain depth by breaking the “Just-In-Time” approach with a goal to achieve 90 days SOH and no B/Os older than 30 days for the top readiness drivers.

Finding the Balance
AMCOM’s leaders and logisticians decide how many parts to either repair organically or commercially and/or how many parts to buy new, while taking into consideration the lead time involved with these varied approaches. As diversification and balance is necessary among the three major SoS, we must also diversify and balance work-loading among our organic source of repair (SoR) options.

UH-60L Blade Repair at the 1109th TASMG, Groton, CT. / ALL PHOTOS: U.S. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD

Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) is the U.S. Army aviation’s primary organic industrial base (OIB). CCAD provides repairs, modifications, and overhauls components and rotary wing aircraft for the Department of Defense and other Government organizations. However, the depot’s resource and schedule limitations challenge the capacity to meet current and future requirements. Therefore, other organic SoR are leveraged to meet the field’s demands. The AMCOM Logistics Center’s Industrial Operations Directorate directs the depot’s workload, and plans, manages and executes organic non-depot repair programs through the National Maintenance Program (NMP).

The NMP is responsible for class II, IV and IX items being repaired/overhauled by the depot and non-depot SoR activities. These activities augment the depot and commercial production as well as bridge the gaps in procurement deliveries. Presently, a majority of the program lines are low quantity or obsolete items that either the depot cannot accept because of current priorities or capacity, or there is no original equipment manufacturer (OEM) contract in place, or the OEM is underperforming on deliveries.

Non-Depot Repair Activities
There are currently four organic non-depot repair activities for aviation components; one of the AMCOM Field Maintenance Directorate’s Logistics Readiness Center – Aviation (LRC-A) sites, Fort Rucker’s contracted maintenance activity overseen by the Aviation Center Logistics Command, and two of the four Army National Guard theater aviation sustainment maintenance groups (TASMG).

Engines awaiting Flexible Engine Diagnostic Stand (FEDS) Testing at the 1109th TASMG, Groton, CT.

All LRC-A activities maintain a below depot repair capability, however three currently maintain an aircraft Reset capability and one currently participates in the NMP. LRC-A Ft. Campbell, with its Reset program and participation in the NMP, make it a SoR alternative.

Under the Reset program inducted aircraft are depopulated and receive an Airframe Condition Evaluation (ACE). It is not uncommon for inspectors to discover beam cracks as was the case with a UH-60M inducted into Reset at LRC-A Ft. Campbell in February 2018. During the ACE, a crack was found in the Force Generator Beam (station 320) and an Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) liaison engineer (LE) determined the damage exceeded the repair limits. The team determined they possessed the requisite skills, tooling and materials necessary and the AMRDEC LE gave the authorization to proceed with the fabrication of the required beam.

The LRC-A Ft. Campbell currently receives work-loading through the NMP. In 2018 it conducted component repair
on 23 of the NMP’s 57 aviation programs. LRC-A Ft. Campbell’s vital fa-brication capability, along with work per-
formed to support NMP programs, help mitigate the supply availability lag, a depth aspect that could become critical should surge capability become necessary.
The TASMG

A National Guard UH-60 in the On Condition Maintenance Program at the 1109th TASMG, Croton CT

Other non-depot SoR activities that AMCOM leverages are the TASMGs. Doctrinally, the four TASMGs support the two-level maintenance concept by providing aviation sustainment maintenance, including limited depot capabilities and backup field maintenance, to the regionally supported Army Aviation Support Facilities and to respective theater(s) while deployed. They also provide major airframe repair, aircraft painting, identification and classification of aviation parts and NMP component repair and overhaul.

The TASMG’s peacetime participation in the NMP should support their wartime mission. The TASMG NMP workload should reflect high demand/critical repair and return items that AMCOM will need to be forward repaired in conflict (i.e. blades, engines, transmissions, and critical long lead time parts). With appropriate resources and scheduling, this would enable recurring opportunities for Soldier maintenance task proficiency while providing an alternate SoR for select critical readiness drivers that are currently either being repaired at CCAD or contracted to OEMs.

AMCOM is pursuing the development of a supportable long term strategy to increase TASMG participation in the NMP, including the possibility of working some backlogged components at CCAD. Utilizing the TASMGs to expand the NMP provides depth and geographically dispersed repair capabilities in the event of natural disasters impacting other OIB locations, as well as having the capability to rapidly ramp up to provide surge support for major combat operations. This approach would help ensure a broader, warm industrial base, and a proficient, deployable, Soldier provided, repair forward capability.

C/BD Workload
Recently, the AMCOM Commander decided to pursue alternate SoR for several crashed or battle-damaged (C/BD) aircraft to allow CCAD to focus on the execution of the UH-60L-to-L and the establishment of the UH-60L-to-V Recapitalization (Recap) Programs. For this reason, the AMCOM Commander has directed that we offload future C/BD workload from CCAD to other SoR until such time as the continued success of the UH-60 Recap program is assured.

Under this guidance, the TASMG repair activities are AMCOM’s first choice to workload C/BD aircraft repairs. It makes sense to workload them with this mission on a limited basis in peacetime to keep their skills sharp and their processes refined, in preparation for activation/deployment.

AMCOM’s second choice for workload C/BD repair is the OEMs. Their technical expertise, engineering and design data, and access to materiel suppliers and vendors make them a good choice to workload the C/BD repairs. However, their support would typically come at a higher cost as compared to the costs at organic OIB facilities.

LRC-As possess similar facilities, tools, the expertise of a TASMG, and currently conduct limited depot repairs on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, LRC-As are AMCOM’s third choice for C/BD workload.

Supply
Supply availability will be a challenge for the foreseeable future. AMCOM’s strategy to achieve 90 days of parts on the shelf involves the art and science of managing resources and schedules associated with organic repair, commercial repair and new buy. A lack of strategic depth in critical parts combined with acquisition challenges and a reliance on OIB repair will significantly impact our ability to sustain readiness for major contingency operations. We must think strategically and look for opportunities to resource and increase organic SoR activities.

Expanding and leveraging all available organic repair capabilities will help minimize the risk of the next natural disaster affecting production at CCAD, and the next internal and/or external quality escape resulting in un-forecasted rapid consumption. Doing so ensures the longevity and proficiency of multiple organic SoR as well as enabling, in the case of the TASMGs, a deployable surge capacity when necessary. Now and in the future, we need assured organic repair depth and diversification, focused on supply availability and strategic depth, thereby enabling and sustaining our ability to “Fix Forward and Fight Tonight”.

COL John T. Parchem is the AMCOM Reserve Component Liaison Officer within the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) and Mr. Fred W. Pieper, Jr. is the deputy executive director for the AMCOM Logistics Center, both at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) manages over 8,700 active lines of aviation repair parts. Parts are obtained via three general sources of supply (SoS): organic repair, commercial repair and new buy. To provide continuous sustainable readiness to aviation formations, the replenishment rate must be greater than the consumption rate. Replenishment rates and required quantities are influenced by average monthly demand, stock on hand (SOH) and back orders (B/O). A number of external factors impact the procurement and distribution of these parts including: acquisition and procurement lead times, quality escapes, the political landscape (i.e., tariff implications), natural disasters, and war. Therefore, AMCOM is undertaking efforts to build strategic supply chain depth by breaking the “Just-In-Time” approach with a goal to achieve 90 days SOH and no B/Os older than 30 days for the top readiness drivers.

Finding the Balance
AMCOM’s leaders and logisticians decide how many parts to either repair organically or commercially and/or how many parts to buy new, while taking into consideration the lead time involved with these varied approaches. As diversification and balance is necessary among the three major SoS, we must also diversify and balance work-loading among our organic source of repair (SoR) options.
Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) is the U.S. Army aviation’s primary organic industrial base (OIB). CCAD provides repairs, modifications, and overhauls components and rotary wing aircraft for the Department of Defense and other Government organizations. However, the depot’s resource and schedule limitations challenge the capacity to meet current and future requirements. Therefore, other organic SoR are leveraged to meet the field’s demands. The AMCOM Logistics Center’s Industrial Operations Directorate directs the depot’s workload, and plans, manages and executes organic non-depot repair programs through the National Maintenance Program (NMP).

The NMP is responsible for class II, IV and IX items being repaired/overhauled by the depot and non-depot SoR activities. These activities augment the depot and commercial production as well as bridge the gaps in procurement deliveries. Presently, a majority of the program lines are low quantity or obsolete items that either the depot cannot accept because of current priorities or capacity, or there is no original equipment manufacturer (OEM) contract in place, or the OEM is underperforming on deliveries.

Non-Depot Repair Activities
There are currently four organic non-depot repair activities for aviation components; one of the AMCOM Field Maintenance Directorate’s Logistics Readiness Center – Aviation (LRC-A) sites, Fort Rucker’s contracted maintenance activity overseen by the Aviation Center Logistics Command, and two of the four Army National Guard theater aviation sustainment maintenance groups (TASMG).
All LRC-A activities maintain a below depot repair capability, however three currently maintain an aircraft Reset capability and one currently participates in the NMP. LRC-A Ft. Campbell, with its Reset program and participation in the NMP, make it a SoR alternative.

Under the Reset program inducted aircraft are depopulated and receive an Airframe Condition Evaluation (ACE). It is not uncommon for inspectors to discover beam cracks as was the case with a UH-60M inducted into Reset at LRC-A Ft. Campbell in February 2018. During the ACE, a crack was found in the Force Generator Beam (station 320) and an Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) liaison engineer (LE) determined the damage exceeded the repair limits. The team determined they possessed the requisite skills, tooling and materials necessary and the AMRDEC LE gave the authorization to proceed with the fabrication of the required beam.

The LRC-A Ft. Campbell currently receives work-loading through the NMP. In 2018 it conducted component repair on 23 of the NMP’s 57 aviation programs. LRC-A Ft. Campbell’s vital fa-brication capability, along with work performed to support NMP programs, help mitigate the supply availability lag, a depth aspect that could become critical should surge capability become necessary.

The TASMG
Other non-depot SoR activities that AMCOM leverages are the TASMGs. Doctrinally, the four TASMGs support the two-level maintenance concept by providing aviation sustainment maintenance, including limited depot capabilities and backup field maintenance, to the regionally supported Army Aviation Support Facilities and to respective theater(s) while deployed. They also provide major airframe repair, aircraft painting, identification and classification of aviation parts and NMP component repair and overhaul.

The TASMG’s peacetime participation in the NMP should support their wartime mission. The TASMG NMP workload should reflect high demand/critical repair and return items that AMCOM will need to be forward repaired in conflict (i.e. blades, engines, transmissions, and critical long lead time parts). With appropriate resources and scheduling, this would enable recurring opportunities for Soldier maintenance task proficiency while providing an alternate SoR for select critical readiness drivers that are currently either being repaired at CCAD or contracted to OEMs.

AMCOM is pursuing the development of a supportable long term strategy to increase TASMG participation in the NMP, including the possibility of working some backlogged components at CCAD. Utilizing the TASMGs to expand the NMP provides depth and geographically dispersed repair capabilities in the event of natural disasters impacting other OIB locations, as well as having the capability to rapidly ramp up to provide surge support for major combat operations. This approach would help ensure a broader, warm industrial base, and a proficient, deployable, Soldier provided, repair forward capability.

C/BD Workload
Recently, the AMCOM Commander decided to pursue alternate SoR for several crashed or battle-damaged (C/BD) aircraft to allow CCAD to focus on the execution of the UH-60L-to-L and the establishment of the UH-60L-to-V Recapitalization (Recap) Programs. For this reason, the AMCOM Commander has directed that we offload future C/BD workload from CCAD to other SoR until such time as the continued success of the UH-60 Recap program is assured.

Under this guidance, the TASMG repair activities are AMCOM’s first choice to workload C/BD aircraft repairs. It makes sense to workload them with this mission on a limited basis in peacetime to keep their skills sharp and their processes refined, in preparation for activation/deployment.

AMCOM’s second choice for workload C/BD repair is the OEMs. Their technical expertise, engineering and design data, and access to materiel suppliers and vendors make them a good choice to workload the C/BD repairs. However, their support would typically come at a higher cost as compared to the costs at organic OIB facilities.
LRC-As possess similar facilities, tools, the expertise of a TASMG, and currently conduct limited depot repairs on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, LRC-As are AMCOM’s third choice for C/BD workload.

Supply
Supply availability will be a challenge for the foreseeable future. AMCOM’s strategy to achieve 90 days of parts on the shelf involves the art and science of managing resources and schedules associated with organic repair, commercial repair and new buy. A lack of strategic depth in critical parts combined with acquisition challenges and a reliance on OIB repair will significantly impact our ability to sustain readiness for major contingency operations. We must think strategically and look for opportunities to resource and increase organic SoR activities.

Expanding and leveraging all available organic repair capabilities will help minimize the risk of the next natural disaster affecting production at CCAD, and the next internal and/or external quality escape resulting in un-forecasted rapid consumption. Doing so ensures the longevity and proficiency of multiple organic SoR as well as enabling, in the case of the TASMGs, a deployable surge capacity when necessary. Now and in the future, we need assured organic repair depth and diversification, focused on supply availability and strategic depth, thereby enabling and sustaining our ability to “Fix Forward and Fight Tonight”.

COL John T. Parchem is the AMCOM Reserve Component Liaison Officer within the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) and Mr. Fred W. Pieper, Jr. is the deputy executive director for the AMCOM Logistics Center, both at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

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