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Optimizing Maintenance Manpower for USMC F/A-18 Squadrons

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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United States Marine Corps FA-18 squadrons face increasing maintenance requirements to keep their aging aircraft operationally ready. Each squadron maintenance department has six production work centers WCs that specialize in different maintenance activities. Each Marine in one of the six production WCs belongs to one of three categories of experience level, with some maintenance actions requiring certification by a member of the most experienced category before an aircraft can fly. This thesis formulates the Manpower Validation Planner MVP, an integer linear program that daily assigns tasks to available Marines from each WC and experience level to a squadrons maintenance actions, with the requirement to keep a standard number of aircraft operationally ready. We demonstrate the MVP using two years of daily maintenance and manning data from five FA-18 squadrons to calculate the number of used, unused, and deficit hours of work. Our baseline analysis shows the majority of WCs in an FA-18 maintenance department have sufficient manpower available, but that two WCs are overtasked. Additional analysis shows the impossibility of keeping the required number of aircraft operationally ready given the time available to fix aircraft and evaluates mitigation strategies.

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