NEWS | Sept. 2, 2020

Naval Supply Systems Command Weapons System Support Boosts Supply-Chain Resiliency in Indo-Pacific

By Brian Jones, Office of Corporate Communications NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support

U.S. NAVY NEWS -- Managing one of the world’s largest supply chains is inherently challenging and, when assets are on the other side of the globe, shortening the distance from supplier to customer is paramount to efficiency.

Managing one of the world’s largest supply chains is inherently challenging and, when assets are on the other side of the globe, shortening the distance from supplier to customer is paramount to efficiency.

One such challenge was addressed by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support when they awarded a $76,350 repair contract to Ruag Australia to repair Hydraulic Gun Drive Motor units (GDM) on Legacy F/A-18 Hornets, August 6.

The deal marked the first time NAVSUP WSS contracted directly with a foreign vendor.

“Normally there has to be a third party that is a U.S. entity to coordinate this type of effort,” said Scott Morrow, NAVSUP WSS deputy director of engineering and product support directorate.

Ruag will perform the repairs of the hydraulic motors in accordance with the U.S. Navy processes and procedures. The first one through the process is designated the First Article Test item and will be subjected to a full inspection upon completion to prove out the processes used, according to Morrow. The subsequent units will then be repaired, and upon completion, will then be Ready For Issue and returned to the supply system.

This effort aligns directly with U.S. and Australian partnership goals in the Indo-Pacific region. A joint statement released by the governments after the 30th Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations in July specified that the operational effectiveness of the Alliance relies increasingly on secure supply chains to support our combined capability and readiness.

The statement further encouraged taking advantage of Australia’s industrial complex to support American military power.

“The United States and Australia are determined to advance initiatives that diversify and harness our industry cooperation, including further pursuing options that enable greater maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade of U.S. military platforms and components in Australia to further strengthen our supply chain resilience in the Indo-Pacific.”

As part of this process, NAVSUP WSS completed a virtual site survey with Ruag to approve their actual facilities and walk through the repair of the items. This was another first for the command.

“The current worldwide COVID-19 issue has forced many to adapt to virtual meetings, etc. This proved to be a bit of a challenge to us, as the typical approval of a new source entails a physical site audit and walk through of the specific processes for the repair of an item,” said Morrow. “We were able to coordinate a virtual site survey with a vendor half way around the world, our NAVAIR counterparts on the west coast and our team on the east coast, demonstrating our focus on making this effort a reality and ultimately give the Navy a way to obtain repairs of our aircraft parts in one of the most significant Areas of Operation. The long-term vision is to enable the U.S. Navy to send items for repair to an approved Australian vendor while the Fleet is operating in the INDOPACOM region, thereby reducing the turn-around times for repairs as well as transportation costs and increasing readiness.”

In addition to approving Ruag to work on the F/A-18 Hornet GDM, the virtual site survey paved the way for the Australian company to work on other projects.

“The coordination of the virtual survey with the NAVAIR design engineers for landing gear systems allowed for their endorsement and to approve Ruag for work associated with landing gear components,” said the Deputy Director.

NAVSUP WSS currently has approved the Legacy F/A-18 wheels for repair with that contract being solicited for in the near future. The command also has approximately 30 other components being reviewed as candidates for source approval across both F/A-18 Legacy and Super Hornet platforms and the H-60 platform.

Continued cooperation between the U.S., Australia and other Indo-Pacific allies will further support supply chain resilience and diversification vital to the region’s security and prosperity.

NAVSUP WSS is one of 11 commands under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter. Learn more at www.navsup.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/navsupwss.