US Air Forces’ HH-60G fleet is experiencing maintenance challenges
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on 16 August regarding the aging HH-60G Pave Hawk fleet that is experiencing maintenance challenges.
According to the report, the aging HH-60G fleet has declined and maintenance challenges have increased, in part due to extensions beyond the designed service life of the helicopters.
About 68 percent of the 96-helicopter fleet were mission-capable as of fiscal year 2017, below the Air Force desired mission-capable rate of 75 percent. The fleet is experiencing maintenance challenges.
For example, the helicopters undergoing depot-level maintenance spent an average of 332 days undergoing such maintenance in fiscal year 2017 compared with 233 days in fiscal year 2007, more than a 40-percent increase.
Air Force officials attribute these challenges to the helicopters exceeding their initially planned service life. Currently, available helicopters across the fleet average about 7,100 flight hours about 18 percent more than their initial expected service life of 6,000 hours.
According to Air Force officials, the schedule for fielding the new Combat Rescue Helicopters generally prioritizes the replacement of helicopters with the highest number of flight hours; as a result, the active component is scheduled to begin receiving its new helicopters in fiscal year 2020, 6 years before the reserve
In May 2018, the Air Force’s active component HH-60Gs averaged about 2,000 more flight hours per helicopter than the reserve component. Under the fielding schedule, the Air National Guard squadrons are to receive new Combat Rescue Helicopters beginning in 2027, at the end of the fielding period.
According to officials, in the meantime, to address aging helicopters in the Air National Guard, the Guard is scheduled to receive refurbished Army helicopters beginning in 2019. According to Air …read more
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