By Capt. William Fine, EWI Fellow, Air Force Institute of Technology
/ Published March 03, 2020
F-35 support equipment awaiting staging into the hull of the USS Makin Island. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. William Fine)
One of the confined F-35B storage locations aboard the USS Makin Island. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. William Fine)
Team members validating serial numbers and in-processing the RAF PUK parts in Nellis AFB’s F-35 supply warehouse. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. William Fine)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Air Force Institute of Technology Education with Industry Fellow Capt. William Fine traveled to San Diego, Calif. and Nellis AFB, Nev. 6-10 January 2020, where he joined a team of Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, US Navy, and US Marine Corps personnel to help receive the USS Makin Island Afloat Spares Package for an upcoming deployment. The ASP will provide the maintainers aboard the ship with all the consumables, repairable parts and support equipment necessary to keep the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter flying while at sea.
The ASP upload provided Fine a Joint opportunity to work alongside Seamen and Marines aboard a landing helicopter dock amphibious assault ship. This engagement provided the understanding of how the Navy and Marines prepare for deployments, how their supply systems communicate, and how the ship operates while underway.
At Nellis AFB, Fine partnered with Lockheed Martin, BAE and US Air Force personnel to prepare for and in-process the arrival of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force F-35B Pack Up Kit. The RAF will utilize their PUK during their flying operations in the 2020 Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB. For this PUK deployment the team received and inventoried 253 unique line items accounting for 3,244 individual parts.
The purpose of a PUK is to provide consumable and repairable parts in a compressed deployable package for a deploying unit to utilize without depending on a resupply from a home station, allowing the unit to operate completely autonomously in austere environments.
Overall, the trip provided insight and a foundational understanding of the how the F-35 must operate in the Joint environment. The team provided a tangible representation of how dependent the program is on each of the DoD services and foreign partners to executing the mission.