Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


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    Maintaining Mission Readiness

    Vella Gulf Conducts Operations in the Gulf of Aden

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Waters | 200501-N-PI330-0146 GULF OF ADEN (May 1, 2020) Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class...... read more read more

    (ARABIAN GULF) -- Maintenance is a vital part of making the nation’s forward-deployed maritime security force and helping earn its nickname, “America’s Away Team.” Whether a Sailor is replacing a gasket on a watertight hatch, cleaning and inspecting a diesel generator, or overhauling various parts of an aircraft, performing maintenance keeps the fleet ready to perform any assigned mission.
    The “Guardians” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48.1, embarked the guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), are currently conducting D-phase maintenance on Venom-516, an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter.
    Different phases of maintenance are performed at approximately 200 flight hours. The entire helicopter is serviced roughly every 800 flight hours. D-phase, one of the longer phases, takes about 10-12 days underway to complete.
    “The biggest parts of the maintenance are removing the rotor blades, spindles, oil coolers, number one drive shaft, as well as several other parts,” said Lt. Christopher N.F. Ketay, the maintenance officer for HSM 48.1. “We break it all down, essentially factory reset it and put it back together.”
    Most importantly, maintainers look for corrosion and worn-out parts.
    “They [the maintainers] inspect every piece of equipment for corrosion and damage,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Morgart, the Air Boss for HSM 48.1. “They may find a small amount of corrosion that would be completely fine on your personal vehicle and wouldn’t affect anything, but that has to be corrected on an aircraft. They have already had to replace a spindle [where the rotor blade connects to the aircraft] and some dampers [that prevents excess motion of the rotor].”
    One of the biggest challenges the aircraft is facing is weather corrosion.
    “We are operating in 5th Fleet, and the weather is really hot and humid which can be very corrosive on the aircraft,” said Ketay. “If we don’t keep up maintenance, the aircraft could suffer catastrophic failure in the long term particularly in this climate. We are trying to do a lot of preventative maintenance to prevent that from happening.”
    Conducting maintenance phases such as this allows the Navy’s assets to stay fully capable and ready to deploy to any area in the world at a moment’s notice.
    Vella Gulf is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.



    Date Taken: 05.04.2020
    Date Posted: 05.22.2020 16:04
    Story ID: 370663
    Location: GULF OF ADEN

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