#thenewscompany : The F-35B Lightning II completed a new milestone during its third and final Developmental Test Phase (DT-III) by successfully completing the first power module and engine swap at sea in the hangar bay of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6).
Mark Schroeder, the maintenance and logistics department head for the F-35 Pax (Patuxent) River Integrated Test Force (ITF), said the initial at-sea power module and engine swap went well and attributed this success to embarked marines assigned to Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 1, who developed the new engine removal and replacement (R&R) process. VMX-1 teamed with the Pax River ITF for DT-III to conduct integrated tests across the spectrum of flight and maintenance events.
The marines comprising the VMX-1 maintenance team have been learning and testing F-35B maintenance procedures for approximately two years. During the engine swap on the USS America, the team spent a week on the initial swap, making sure to account and track for each step of the process by entering each maintenance step into the Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) – a system that gives the F-35 team the ability to plan ahead, and maintain and sustain aircraft subsystems over the life of the aircraft.
Tests such as an engine swap are important, as those involved with the F-35B learn more about the aircraft and its capabilities. Results from early tests allow those assessing the aircraft to make adjustments to improve the efficiency of such actions for fleet maintainers.