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Navy cuts ribbon on new aircraft maintenance center

The objective is to achieve and maintain aircraft readiness goals and increase "mission-capable" rates.

NORFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Navy is working hard to improve its aircraft mission-capable rates.

Officials on Monday cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the-art aviation maintenance operations center at Naval Station Norfolk. The "MOC" is located in an old, 70's-vintage hangar near the flight line at Naval Station Norfolk's Chambers Field.

The renovation was completed in just 18 months and it was much-needed.

A 2020 Government Accountability Office report found that Navy fixed-wing aircraft spent over 62,000 more days in maintenance than expected since Fiscal Year 2014.

The GAO concluded, "Without addressing these challenges, the Navy will likely continue to experience maintenance delays that reduce the time aircraft are available for operations and training."

The new "Naval Sustainment System-Aviation" MOC will go a long way toward fixing the problem by providing centralized, daily, real-time information on the supply, maintenance, and engineering needs of each aircraft in the fleet, using the commercial airline model to monitor and predict and repair problems before they happen, and hopefully, getting ahead of supply chain disruptions.

Naval Air Force Atlantic Commander Rear Admiral John Meier said the switch is "a game-changer" and is already paying dividends.

"The results are really, really hard to argue," he said. "We started this journey, we were averaging around 230 mission-capable F/A-18's on any given day. And today, in the last month, we've averaged 360. That's is just a staggering improvement."

In addition to Super Hornets, the center also monitors all Navy and Marine Corps helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys, plus all E2 Hawkeye early-warning planes, P-3 patrol planes, C-2 Greyhound carrier onboard delivery planes, and EA/18 Growler electronic warfare planes.

Meier said the center will take on C-130's later this month.

"The intent is that we capture this process for all aircraft, and that's Navy and Marine Corps and reserve aircraft. That is the intent," he said.

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