Maintaining Helos at Sea

01/15/2013: Maintaining Helos at Sea

Credit:24th Marine Expeditionary Unit:12/3/12

  • In the first photo, Lance Cpl. Ramon Sapien, a Dallas, native and AH-1W Super Cobra mechanic with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepares for the installment of a main rotor to an AH-1W Super Cobra aboard USS Iwo Jima, Dec. 3, 2012.The 24th MEU is deployed with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and is currently in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility. Since deploying in March, they have supported a variety of missions in the U.S. Central, Africa and European Commands, assisted the Navy in safeguarding sea lanes, and conducted various bilateral and unilateral training events in several countries in the Middle East and Africa.The Cobras, along with UH-1N Hueys, make up the “Skid” detachment for VMM-261 (Rein) and are originally from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, based at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C.
  • In the second and third photos, Sgt. Matthew Yoskovich, a Greensboro, Penn., native and AH-1W Super Cobra crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, oversees maintenance of a main rotor to an AH-1W Super Cobra aboard USS Iwo Jima, Dec. 3, 2012.
  • In the fourth photo, Lance Cpl. Ramon Sapien, a Dallas, native and AH-1W Super Cobra mechanic with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, oversees maintenance of a main rotor to an AH-1W Super Cobra aboard USS Iwo Jima, Dec. 3, 2012.

A key change, which has occurred with the upgrade of the Marine Corps’ helo fleet, is improved capacity to maintain the fleet while at sea.

As we argued earlier:

By adding, new combat capabilities, notably the V-22 and the F-35B, the ARG becomes a much more potent combat resource, and a welcome addition to CBG con-ops. In an age of diminishing physical assets – in this case ships – getting more punch for the buck is a key consideration. The tactical contribution is the ARG becomes part of a scalable response with respect to any evolving flash point crisis.

 Like everything in life the cliché “the Devil is in the details” must be addressed. There good news because of another significant aspect of the USN-USMC modernization approach.  The ability to make better use of Amphib deck and below deck space is significantly enhanced by the new systems.Having the two modernized helos – the Zulu and Yankee Class – use the SAME engines means that support for two different engines aboard the ship is no longer necessary.  This frees up both manpower and maintenance space aboard the ship

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