VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Mid-Atlantic was officially stood up in a ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana here Oct. 16.
FRC Mid-Atlantic is the second of six FRCs to be stood up and the first one on the east coast. FRC Mid-Atlantic combines the facilities formerly known as Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Departments (AIMD) up and down the east coast.
"It's fitting we have this ceremony at Oceana, only a few miles away from the birthplace of carrier aviation," said Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Adm. H. Denby Starling.
Starling explained how the FRCs would benefit the military.
"We're a nation at war, and our services are needed now. [These FRCs are acting as a] one-stop shop for aviation maintenance," he said.
Starling said the FRC is designed to co-locate intermediate (I-Level) maintenance and depot (D-Level) maintenance, improving turnaround times for repair without impacting technical ability.
"Getting to this point hasn't been easy. This is a design created by you. It's your idea. This is your contribution to the greatest Navy and naval aviation," Starling said. He added that it has taken a great deal of innovative thought and work from everyone involved, including the Sailors, civilians and military contractors attending the ceremony, whom he praised.
Starling said he foresees a bright, productive future for naval aviation maintenance as the military and civilians work closely together in the same building.
One of the major changes with the FRCs is that now depot-level artisans will work alongside active-duty personnel in the facilities. Components will no longer have to be sent away to be repaired in a civilian facility, something that added to the cost of the repair and the time that the part was out of service.
"I think that it is fair to say this is the most aggressive change we've ever had," said Starling.
Starling said the changes will continue to provide readiness to guarantee the future of naval aviation.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Rear Adm. Michael Hardee, who is now the commander of the six Fleet Readiness Centers across the United States. Along with FRC Mid-Atlantic, other area commands include FRC Southwest, which was established Oct. 10; FRC Southeast which will stand up Oct. 20; FRC West which will stand up Oct. 27; FRC East which will stand up Oct. 30; and FRC Northwest which will stand up in early November.
Last November, Hardee was given the responsibility of designing and implementing the FRCs. A team approach was used to create the FRCs, with representatives from financial, total force management, supply, maintenance, information technology and facilities working together.
According to their primary function statement, the mission of the new FRCs is to produce relevant quality airframes, engines, components and services to meet the Naval Aviation Enterprise's aircraft-ready-for-training entitlements at improved efficiency and reduced cost.
The FRCs will be shifting aviation maintenance from three levels of maintenance to two levels, which will now be "on-aircraft" and "off-aircraft."
Echoing Starling's forecast for the future of naval aviation maintenance, Hardee said they are creating a better future for the Navy and the nation.
"With the creation of the FRCs, naval aviation maintenance is embarking on the most significant change in decades," Hardee said.
Also praising the military members and civilians involved, Hardee said the partnership between the two would create an all-star team who would be able to deliver combat-ready assets and reduce the total cost for naval aviation.
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