WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark visited the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Patuxent River, Md., Aug. 13, to get a firsthand look at how the command is setting the standard for advanced warfare technologies and improved naval aviation readiness.
"What naval aviation contributes to the positive influence of world events is so important," Clark said. "We can't do it without NAVAIR."
After greeting NAVAIR's Patuxent River chief petty officer selectees, Clark toured the Air Combat Environment Test and Evaluation Facility (ACETEF), including the shielded hangar, the large Anechoic Chamber, and the Advanced System Integration Lab (ASIL). Following the tour, Clark met with NAVAIR's senior leadership for discussion.
Rear Adm. Wally Massenburg, assistant commander for logistics, briefed Clark on the current readiness of naval aviation. Massenburg spoke about the Naval Aviation Readiness Integrated Improvement Program (NAVRIIP) and how NAVAIR is partnering with industry to reduce fleet support costs.
"At NAVAIR, all that we do is intended to provide absolute combat power for the warfighter," Massenburg said. "The PMAs are linked directly to the warfighter. We believe that every warfighter has a set of fundamental and inalienable rights that they can expect from NAVAIR."
Dr. Don McErlean, logistics deputy, explained that NAVAIR is using performance-based logistics to improve readiness through a strategic partnership with industry. The establishment of that partnership creates an alignment of the private sector's incentives with those of the fleet.
The CNO listened to how NAVAIR's integrated maintenance concept is making continuous process improvements and reducing depot dynamic cycle time. Massenburg said exercising platinum standards across NAVAIR to enable absolute combat power is yielding impressive results.
"Is all of this working?" Massenburg questioned. "Yes, sir, it is. We are removing 50 percent of the barriers and improving naval aviation readiness."
With the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as a backdrop, Lt. Cmdr. Brian Jones, JSF project coordinator, updated the CNO on how modeling and simulation development at NAVAIR is supporting the next generation aircraft. ACETEF provides a collaborative strike warfare environment for testing in near real time.
Rear Adm. Tim Heely, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division commander and assistant commander for engineering, escorted Clark to the large Anechoic Chamber where a receiver on an EA-6B Improved Capabilities III Prowler was being tested by Northrop Grumman personnel.
"This is one example of NAVAIR working with industry, making our already existing government facilities available to them to avoid duplicating efforts," said Vice Adm. Joe Dyer, NAVAIR commander.
The Anechoic Chamber is a quiet and secure environment that can be used for interoperability tests. Two tactical aircraft can hang in the chamber at the same time with a pilot positioned about 50 yards away in the Manned Flight Simulator, flying a mission with a link to weapons on the range at NAVAIR China Lake, Calif. All of this is coordinated and monitored from the ASIL control room.
"Using NAVAIR simulation facilities to fly a war scenario in a virtual environment lets us evaluate future capabilities early in development," said J.R. Smullen, associate for Ground Test for the Atlantic Ranges and Facilities Department.
The CNO's visit ended with a roundtable discussion with NAVAIR leaders about the command's focus on serving the warfighter. Dyer reiterated how NAVAIR's five main thrusts are aligned in support of the CNO's goals of manpower, near-term readiness, future readiness, quality of service, and alignment.
"We at NAVAIR work collaboratively and in a networked fashion with the Commander, Naval Air Forces, and N78 and N43 on the OPNAV staff to provide the necessary warfighting tools and in-service support to the fleet," said Rear Adm. James B. Godwin, program executive officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs. "One of those collaboration mechanisms by which we serve the warfighter is NAVRIIP."
Clark was also briefed on the unsurpassed knowledge and unique expertise that NAVAIR provides the warfighter through six advanced warfare technologies - sensors, aircraft, weapons, training, launch and recovery, and communications.
"It was an honor to host Admiral Clark," Dyer said. "It was a good opportunity to show how NAVAIR, as the warfighter's ultimate technology provider, is acting as a seamless network of diverse elements bound by a common vision, purpose and collective destiny."