ADAZI, Latvia – Aircraft maintainers and repairers supporting the 4th Infantry Division’s Task Force Ivy in Latvia achieved a milestone by successfully completing a 48-month maintenance inspection of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia.
Soldiers from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, supporting the 4th Infantry Division completed the inspection and required maintenance which includes checking the fuel cells, the connections to the rotors, and the tail rotor. Assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade’s Task Force Knighthawk, their accomplishment underscores the critical significance of field maintenance in the Baltics and keeps aircraft operational in strategic locations while showcasing the expertise of the Soldiers involved.
Field aviation maintenance is the essential upkeep, repair, and inspection of aircraft directly on-site, ensuring their operational efficiency, safety, and longevity in a forward environment. Effective field maintenance is critical to keeping aircraft operational, as opposed to transporting them to more established aviation maintenance facilities that will take them out of operation for longer periods of time.
According to U.S. Army Sgt. Reno Boyd, a UH-60 Black Hawk maintenance section chief with 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, the completion of the inspection encompassed a thorough assessment of critical components, systems, and structural integrity – a task that had never before been attempted by U.S. maintainers in the Baltics.
“It’s important because we originally were briefed that we wouldn’t be able to do it, because there’s so much that can go wrong with a 48-month [inspection],” Boyd said, “So it was such an amazing feat on the grounds that it went smoothly, and we also beat the timeline.”
Boyd added that he is very proud of the hard work put in by his Soldiers, touting their efforts as a key factor in completing the inspection in record time, and pushing the boundary of what was previously thought possible.
What sets this achievement apart is not just the successful completion of the inspection, but the exceptional speed with which it was accomplished, Capt. Lyndsie Slusher, Delta Company Commander, said.
The expediency of the inspection establishes a blueprint for future units to follow.
“[The inspection] should take 10 working days,” Slusher said. “We reserved 15 days, and only used nine days…We’ve proven a concept.”
“Maintenance at this level has never been conducted by CABRAF [combat aviation brigade, rotational aviation force] units,” she said. “So now in the future, others can know that it is possible to perform one or two 48-month inspections per rotation here.”
According to Slusher, this level of regular maintenance is normally outsourced to more established maintenance facilities with more hangar space and an ample flow of parts.
Moving aircraft in and out of forward environments for these services can be time consuming and costly, so having the ability to perform this level of maintenance in a more austere environment is a force multiplier and helps Task Force Knighthawk ensure helicopters supporting operations in the Baltic Region maintain their readiness and availability to provide aerial medevac support, transport troops, and participate in multinational training exercises.
Staff Sgt. George Aguilar Jr, the unit’s Black Hawk quality control noncommissioned officer-in-charge, has the scrupulous job of reviewing the work performed by the technical inspectors, aircraft maintainers and repairers to ensure the aircraft are always prepared to meet the demands of their missions.
“I have to make sure that they stay technically proficient in their tasks, as well as ensuring that any inspections performed follow procedure accordingly,” he said.
The accomplishment of the 48-month inspection underscores the importance of field maintenance in ensuring the operational readiness of aircraft and showcases the Army’s ability to overcome challenges and achieve overmatch on any battlefield.
Aguilar appreciated the notoriety that comes with the achievement.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world knowing that you had that piece, that critical component, that you put into the aircraft and the pilots and crew members look at you and say, ‘Thank you guys. We appreciate you.’”
The successful completion of the 48-month inspection, in record time, at Lielvarde Air Base provides a blueprint for future aviation units to maintain combat power aimed at deterring aggression and ensuring regional stability in the Baltics.
|Date Posted:||08.19.2023 12:14|
|Location:||CAMP ADAZI, LV|
This work, Task Force Ivy field aviation maintenance keeps helicopters flying in Baltics, by SSG Oscar Gollaz, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.