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Thursday, 11 October 2007


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Oleh : Frank Taormina, FRCSE Public Affairs Specialist

Thursday October 11, 2007
By Frank Taormina, FRCSE Public Affairs Specialist

"Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE)" (U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy) recently copmleted its 16th F/A-18 Center Barrell Replacement (CBR+) aircraft for fiscal year 2007, more commonly known to the 'Pacesetters' at FRCSE as 'Sweet 16.'

To celebrate this unprecedented accomplishment, FRCSE held a short ceremony last month in Hangar 101 to mark the occasion and t recognize the more than 300 personnel who were involved in reaching this significant milestone.


The F/A-18 Hornet, an all-weather aircraft and the nation's first strike fighter, is the U.S. Navy;s premier fighter/attack aircraft. In its fighter mode, the F/A-18 is used primarily as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense. In its attack mode it is used for force projection, interdiction and close and deep air support, FRCSE currently repairs and modifies the F/A-18 C and D models.

Early in 2003, Vice Adm. Walter Massenburg, commander, Naval Air Systems Command, challenged all depot level facilities to improve reliability and reduce TAT. Little did the workforce know they would be challenged so soon. Later in 2003, what was then the Naval Air Depot, accepted the workload of replacing the F/A-18 center barrels. Also in 2003, the facility received its first fixture and inducted one aircraft for the center barrel replacement.


The Center barrel is arguably the most critical part of the aircraft. That is where the fore and aft fuse-lage sections, wings and landing gear all connect. It also is the part that takes on the brunt of arrested landings aboard aircraft carriers. Hen the F/A-18 was built, the prime contractor, McDonnel Douglas, designed the center barrel to last 6,000 flight hours. As the aircraft approached those hours, the air-frame had held up well. The Navy didn't want to retire the F/A-18 so the solution was to replace the center barrel.

Since the advent of Lean/Six Sigma, FRCSE has been doing things differently. The facility has ‘Leaned' out the process of everything they do. This includes aircraft maintenance. Lean thinking is summarized in five principles: precisely specify value by specific product, identify the value stream for each product, make value flow without interruptions, let the customer pull value from the producer, and pursue perfection. Simply put, trim the fat.

To improve the schedule and cost execution, the team also utilized a management technique known as the ‘Four Disciplines of Execution' (4D).

The F/A-18 line is the first 'Greenfield' project at FRCSE. Greenfield is a new design or production facility where best-practice, lean methods can be put in place from the outset. FRCSE personnel set up cells throughout the hangar to incorporate the Lean concept into the CBR+ change.


The above article is taken from http://www.franklincoveyresearch.org/ and a reprint of selected paragraph from an article in the JAX AIR NEWS, NAS JACKSONVILLE, [Florida, U.S.A.] Thursday October 11, 2007 by Frank Taormina, FRCSE Public Affairs Specialist (U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy). One sentences relating to the 4 Disciplines of Execution has been repeated and enlarged from the original.