Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) hosted U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy Aug. 14 for a briefing and tour focused on the depot’s expanding workload and future capabilities, including enhanced support of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter.
FRCE Commanding Officer Capt. James M. Belmont welcomed Murphy and his party to the depot, where the guests received an update on the depot’s current operations before walking through several of FRCE’s industrial spaces to get a firsthand look at aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul procedures and additive manufacturing capabilities. The brief tour also included a stop at the future site of FRCE’s F-35 vertical lift fan testing and processing facilities, scheduled to come online in early 2024.
Belmont said the visit provided an important opportunity to showcase the FRCE’s important role in military aviation readiness to Murphy, who represents North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, where the depot is located.
“FRC East represents more than just a location; we’re a capability that is critical to national defense,” Belmont explained. “Our team provides engineering support and deployable in-service repair teams in addition to depot maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft and components. FRC East’s support of the Fleet spans the globe and serves as a vital strategic asset for the Navy and Marine Corps team, and the nation.”
Belmont, FRCE Executive Officer Capt. Randy J. Berti and Executive Director Mark Meno also discussed the depot’s continued expansion of capabilities supporting the F-35 Lightning II, and additional incoming workload including Navy and Marine Corps C/KC-130J Super Hercules and C/KC-130T Hercules aircraft, and the Air Force’s HH-60W Jolly Green II search and rescue helicopter and MH-139A Grey Wolf, the planned replacement for the UH-1N Huey. FRCE currently services the Air Force’s UH-1N Huey at its North Carolina Global TransPark detachment in Kinston.
The depot began ramping up components support by declaring capabilities on 17 F-35 components in 2020 – meaning FRCE is now a verified source of repair and testing for those items – and added additional component capabilities in 2022, with dozens more under way. A planned expansion of the space available for airframe modifications is on track to begin in the near future; while efforts supporting the C/KC-130, HH-60W and MH-139A are expected to start in late fiscal year 2026, 2027 and 2028, respectively.
“It was a pleasure visiting the Fleet Readiness Center East to be briefed on its latest operational developments and to tour the campus,” said Murphy. “The importance of FRC East to the defense of our nation and to North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District’s vibrant economy cannot be understated. Eastern North Carolina is proud to be home to the Department of Defense’s Vertical Lift Center of Excellence.”
I’m grateful to the outstanding workforce that has made this Fleet Readiness Center the most innovative one in the world,” Murphy continued. “The 4,000 men and women who serve here are to be commended for their ongoing outstanding support of the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. I am also grateful the for the FRC East leadership who have been so farsighted.”
Projections for the depot’s future workload suggest a sustainable business model that will keep FRCE’s workforce busy well into the future, which in turn benefits the local and state economy, Belmont said.
“FRC East is one of the nation’s premier organic industrial base facilities, and this incoming workload speaks to that,” he said. “The performance of our artisans and engineers has bolstered our reputation for quality and resulted in new, incoming workload that has the potential to generate up to 1 million additional labor hours per year for FRC East. This represents significant employment and economic impact in Eastern North Carolina.”
FRCE is North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $1 billion. The depot provides service to the fleet while functioning as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.
Learn more at www.navair.navy.mil/frce or https://www.facebook.com/FleetReadinessCenterEast.
|CHERRY POINT, NC, US |
This work, FRCE hosts congressional visit from N.C. Rep. Murphy, by Heather Wilburn, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.
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