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    FRCSE reaches new capability heights for Navy’s ears in depths

    FRCSE reaches new capability heights for Navy’s ears in depths

    Photo By Kaylee Larocque | 030116-N-BO364-003 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 1, 2016) From left, Harry Sanders of...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Fleet Readiness Center Southeast

    By Clifford Davis
    Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Public Affairs

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) sent a signal that should prove music to the Navy’s ears with a ribbon cutting March 1.

    The celebration marked FRCSE’s achievement of depot-level status to repair and maintain the Navy’s Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) system, the AQS-22. Depot-level is the most complex and intensive level of work performed, involving repair of the ALFS’ advanced parts, or subassemblies.

    The system is a crucial asset for the Navy, carried by Navy helicopters and lowered down hundreds of feet beneath the ocean’s surface by way of a cable and reeling machine. The ALFS sonar, known as a transducer, is capable of identifying a submarine down to its name by reading its vibration signature as it moves through the water.

    The ability to repair the systems in-house will save the Navy both time and money, according to those involved with the program.

    “Before we reached this capability, many of the ALFS components were shipped back to France for repair,” FRCSE Business Management Specialist Mike Minton said. “The beyond capability of maintenance (BCM) cost – what it costs the Navy to send out equipment it cannot repair – was astronomical.

    “It was almost $1 million to send the reeling machines back to the manufacturer in France, and the transducers were $1.8 million per unit.”

    Though Navy Sailors began repairing the system’s reeling machines in December, the work was limited to identifying and replacing broken parts – known as intermediate, or I-level, work. The civilian workers were, at that point, limited to repairing the reel and cable system within the reeling machine. Now, the integration of Sailors performing intermediate-level work with civilians performing depot-level work, means FRCSE can complete all necessary repairs to the ALFS.

    “The ALFS was designated as a core asset, which means a certain percentage of the work on the system has to be done at a military depot,” Minton said. “When a system is a core asset, it is something that is very important to our national defense.”

    Naval Air Systems Command searched for a facility that had the necessary infrastructure and knowledge base to take on the new work, and chose FRCSE. Once they made the decision, the FRCSE Depot Activation Team went to work preparing the facility and ensuring all logistical elements were in place.

    “The process includes planning, identifying items required and ordering equipment, ensuring partnerships are in place and training the artisans,” Minton said. “We evaluated the building to determine where to set up the testing benches, power requirements and cooling systems. It’s a huge process, and everyone has to be on the same page.”

    One of the main advantages of the new operation at FRCSE’s Hangar 1000 is that everyone will be under the same roof. Tim Postemski, FRCSE integrated product team lead for components, emphasized the collaboration of Sailors, performing intermediate-level work, and civilians performing depot-level work.

    “Having that capability and having it co-located will clearly help with cost and other aspects of support for the fleet on a critical system,” Postemski said. “You’re saving the taxpayers money in the long run.

    “The knowledge transfer and tricks of the trade we’ll pick up over time will also be an important benefit to this.”

    Though the ALFS system is at the forefront of sonar technology, FRCSE artisans have lifetimes of knowledge and experience from which to build. Jim Calhoun, after six years in the Navy, went on to a 30-year career with a civilian manufacturer of sonars for the military. As a technical representative, his job encompassed many of the responsibilities he will have going forward with the new system.

    “I worked with, and trained Sailors,” Calhoun said. “Anyone who needed any kind of help with the sonars was my customer, whether they needed help operating it, maintaining it or they just needed parts.”

    John Paquin logged 20 years in the Navy and worked as a contracted instrument repairman for another 16 years before coming to the ALFS program at FRCSE in September. Donald Ng has been with FRCSE since 1996, working with P-3C automatic test equipment.

    Though the artisans have been staying busy working on the ALFS’ reel and cable assembly, they’re ready to get their hands on the sonars themselves.

    “We’re all electronics guys,” Calhoun said. “So we’re ready to get into the transducers.”



    Date Taken: 03.01.2016
    Date Posted: 03.14.2016 13:21
    Story ID: 192284
    Location: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US

    Web Views: 691
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