The AV-8B Harrier program at Fleet Readiness Middle East (FRCE) reached a milestone on the plane’s journey into the sundown as the road delivered the ultimate plane it’s going to service for one of many Marine Corps’ final Harrier squadrons. In September, Marine Assault Squadron 542 (VMA-542) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Level took possession of the newly refurbished AV-8B Harrier, which had been in for Deliberate Upkeep Interval (PMI) inspection and Built-in Upkeep Program (IMP) meeting at FRCE since December 2020. FRCE has carried out 45 of those occasions for the squadron since PMI’s inception in 2003; nonetheless, VMA-542 is slated to turn out to be Cherry Level’s first F-35 squadron and, in consequence, has no extra depot upkeep scheduled for its AV-8B Harriers.

Lots of the manufacturing line’s maintainers have spent their careers related to the AV-8B Harrier program at FRCE. They are saying it’s bittersweet to look at because the plane is being changed by the extra superior expertise of the F-35. Earlier than the PMI-D inspection, the squadron disassembles the plane and turns it over to FRCE. Aviation upkeep professionals examine the plane and restore the discrepancies they discover, which accounts for about 5,300 hours of labor, in accordance with Rettenmair. After the PMI-D section is full, the plane enters the IMP meeting section, throughout which FRCE artisans reassemble the plane, floor verify it, and launch it to the squadron for the plane’s practical verify flight. FRCE is schedule to proceed performing PMI-D inspections for the Marine Corps’ two remaining AV-8B squadrons by 2028.


“You’ve acquired a number of blood, sweat and tears invested within the airplane, however you additionally perceive that it’s time to maneuver on. There’s higher expertise on the market with the F-35. It’s time, nevertheless it’s nonetheless type of unhappy to see. All of us know the way invaluable it’s for the Marines to get the asset again. After they have a product coming proper out of the depot to go on deployment, that’s much less headache for the squadron, fewer worries, fewer points with the airplane,” stated Ike Rettenmair, FRCE Fastened Wing Division director, whose Harrier expertise dates again to his Marine Corps service.

“Everybody knew we needed to meet the turnaround time for the fleet, attempting to make the boat, and it gave the group a ‘we are able to do that’ mentality. The entire group chipped of their full help to fulfill the squadron’s wants,” stated Jeff Broughton, AV-8 planner and estimator at FRCE.

Raiheem Tillman, FRCE built-in electronics techniques mechanic, tapes wire harnesses as a part of upkeep on an AV-8B Harrier. FRCE just lately accomplished comparable work on the final AV-8B Harrier to bear deliberate scheduled upkeep for Marine Assault Squadron (VMA) 542 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Level.

For its closing plane for VMA-542, the AV-8B line went the additional mile to impress the squadron. IMP meeting averages 127 days, however the squadron’s deployment date was shortly approaching. The road shaved 12 days from the meeting section to ship the plane in 115 days – simply six days earlier than the Marine Expeditionary Unit’s deliberate workup date. The road’s bodily proximity to MCAS Cherry Level’s Harrier squadrons has cemented FRCE’s already shut relationship with the Marines it serves. The squadrons and maintainers are collocated in the identical workplace areas, which makes face-to-face communication a every day prevalence. FRCE is North Carolina’s largest upkeep, restore, overhaul and technical providers supplier, with greater than 4,000 civilian, navy and contract staff. Its annual income exceeds $1 billion. The depot supplies service to the fleet whereas functioning as an integral a part of the larger U.S. Navy; Naval Air Methods Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Facilities.

US Navy Fleet Readiness Center East Returns Final Harrier to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
Workforce members from Fleet Readiness Middle East’s AV-8B manufacturing line stand in entrance of the final AV-8B Harrier to bear Deliberate Upkeep Interval (PMI) inspection for Marine Assault Squadron (VMA) 542 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Level. VMA-542 will turn out to be MCAS Cherry Level’s first F-35 squadron and is ceasing scheduled depot upkeep on its Harriers.