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MALS-13 upgrades aviation efficiency

By Pfc. M. Daniel Sanchez | | July 27, 2006

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Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 is changing the way it does business to save the Marine Corps time, money and man-power by implementing Project AIRspeed, a Naval Aviation Readiness Integrated Improvement Program.

AIRspeed, which started here June 5, is a process improvement strategy to increase readiness on the flight line while decreasing unnecessary waste, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Carlos Henriquez, MALS-13 AIRspeed officer.

It is also a way for the Marine Corps to match the spending efficiency and production speed of civilian sector business, said Maj. Daniel Granado, commander, Naval Air Forces AIRSpeed officer.

The old way was about supporting the mission with little regard to cost, said Granado. However, regular combat deployments require more efficency. The seven-week program will help Marines from several departments throughout MALS-13 to identify weaknesses in performance and efficiency.

The program will also cut down the time it takes to order parts by improving communication between the maintenance and supply departments. In the past, equipment orders were automatic and predetermined, said Henriquez.

For example, if the inventory sheet stated the Marines needed to purchase 10 pencils every three months, but only used three, they would have still ordered 10 pencils, wasting money and time. Now Marines will order according to need, adjusting as required per ordering cycle.

AIRspeed also showed how the Marine Corps was not making full use of the AV-8B Harrier engine, said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Teegardin, MALS-13 work center supervisor.

The maximum life of a Harrier engine is 1,000 flight hours, but some of the parts last 500 or 700 flight hours, taking the entire engine out of commission, said Teegardin.

The Marine Corps was paying 100 percent cost but getting 65 percent use, he said. In addition to that, the ordering process was very tedious. Marines would wait days or weeks for parts to be ordered, shipped and delivered.

This will all change.

The Marines will have access to multiple copies of each component of the Harrier engine within arms reach, said Teegardin. The Marines will also be able to match and put together Harrier engine components with the same amount of flight hours remaining, making the most of each engine.

The short-term goal of AIRspeed is to shorten repair time and save money. Deployments put extra work and strain on the Marines. But if the program is successful, Marines who remain behind to support missions overseas will be able to do the same amount of work and more with less manpower.

AIRspeed was first implemented in the MALS-13 avionics department in 2004. The Consolidated Automated Support System and the Mobile Facility were the first work centers with MALS-13 to use AIRspeed to point out ways its Marines could improve repair times and save money.

Project AIRspeed will enable MALS-13 to achieve its full work potential, said Teegardin.

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