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Services Work to Reduce Maintenance Costs and Raise Helicopter Readiness

A destroyer steams along the starboard side of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), not shown, as an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Squadron Seven conducts plane guard during flight operations over the Atlantic Ocean.
A destroyer steams along the starboard side of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), not shown, as an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Squadron Seven conducts plane guard during flight operations over the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Recruit Matthew D. Williams, U.S. Navy.

The U.S. Navy often expresses its air and sea power by launching supersonic-capable aircraft from floating airstrips, more famously known as aircraft carriers. These powerful naval vessels, however, also require multipurpose close-in air support that fighter aircraft cannot provide.

The Navy's fleet of SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters offers such support. They are critical to many successful missions. The Sea Hawk delivers anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare solutions, search-and-rescue, and other means of support such as special operations. Keeping the rotorcraft flying is vital to the safety and operation of naval aircraft carriers, so regular maintenance is crucial.

One longstanding problem for these aviation platforms has been the corrosion of magnesium components, particularly the gearboxes, said Bill Nickerson, a chemist at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). "The extremely poor corrosion resistance of magnesium, especially in gearbox assemblies that are used in corrosive operational environments, has led to premature component degradation," said Nickerson. The lightweight, high-strength magnesium alloys are attractive for aerospace applications, but have been a nuisance to maintenance personnel.

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Top Story


GAO Suggests Corrosion Prevention Should be Knitted
into DoD's Cultural Fabric

DoD Corrosion Office Concurs with Essence of GAO Report

Recently the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finished auditing the corrosion prevention efforts that the DoD Corrosion Office has overseen and funded since 2005. In its report, the GAO recommended that the DoD Corrosion Office and the Services treat the mission of corrosion prevention as an integral part of building and repairing DoD weapon systems and infrastructure.


"If these key GAO recommendations are put in place, military asset preservation would become an important focus of consideration and funding within each military department."


To briefly summarize from the report, the GAO recommends that DoD should actively oversee annual funding requests of all military departments; that DoD should develop plans using a cost- of-corrosion baseline study; and that the department should direct each military department to require corrosion prevention control plans and assemble corrosion experts or "corrosion prevention advisory teams." In addition, the GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense direct the Services to designate corrosion executives or individual corrosion offices.

If these key GAO recommendations are put in place, military asset preservation would become an important focus of consideration and funding within each military department. The recommendations would also result in changes that could save taxpayers millions, if not billions of dollars, DoD officials say.

"In the Department of Defense we concur with the essence of the GAO report recommendations and thoroughly agree with two of the four recommendations," said Daniel J. Dunmire, the DoD primary action officer in charge of reviewing the GAO draft report and preparing a response on behalf of Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.

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DoD Releases Landmark Cost of Corrosion Study
DoD Releases 2007 Report to Congress


Table of Contents


Volume 3, Number 2
Summer 2007

Top Stories

Services Work to Reduce Maintenance Costs and Raise Helicopter Readiness

GAO Suggests Corrosion Prevention Should be Knitted into DoD's Cultural Fabric

The DoD Corrosion Office Releases its DoD Corrosion Report for Congress

Entertainment Producer Creates New Videos for DoD Corrosion Office

Bruno White Entertainment—A Rich Media Company—Is Versatile in a Competitive Marketplace

DoD Releases Landmark Cost of Corrosion Study

Featured Projects

World War II-Era Chapel Move Highlights 'Green' Sustainability

NASA Engineers Evaluate Innovative Technique to Detect Hidden Corrosion

Remote Imaging System Streamlines Analysis of Tank Coatings on Ships

Army Receives Patent for a New Self-Healing Coating

Inside DoD

Training for DoD's Acquisition Community Continues to Expand

At Tri-Service Meeting, Experts Push to Make Corrosion Part of the Culture

Entertainment Producer Creates New Videos for DoD Corrosion Office

Become a Member of the DoD Corrosion Exchange

Upcoming Conferences

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