E-2/C-2 hit major milestones.
S-3B Viking Testing Concludes
Carrier suitabilty tests for the Mass Memory Unit (MMU) upgrade to the S-3B Viking concluded in September. The MMU's AN/ASH-42 digital data set replaces the Viking's digital memory unit, transportable cartridge and USH-42 mission recorder/reproducer set. A 14-gigabyte hard drive replaces the 8mm recorder tapes as well as the transportable cartridge that contained the mission program and preflight data. The MMU will allow preflight programming and postflight analysis from a laptop computer. Fleet Vikings are expected to be modified during FY 2005.
Carrier Strike Group Staffs Renamed
Carrier Groups and Cruiser-Destroyer Groups have been redesignated Carrier Strike Groups (CSG), bringing them under the administrative command of the numbered fleet commanders. The CSG commanders will be accountable to the numbered fleet commanders for integrated and sustainment training, and to the type commanders for materiel readiness and unit level training.
For the Record
On 28 June a V-22 Osprey experienced a component failure in the right nacelle during flight deck interaction testing with another Osprey. The cause was identified as the failure of a blower which cools drive system components. V-22 flight testing continues, and each test aircraft's blowers will be replaced every 100 flight hours.
On 29 July the Northrop Grumman Corp. delivered the 75th EA-6B Prowler wing center section, five months ahead of schedule. The program to replace the wing sections of fleet Prowlers began in 1994.
On 9 September, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 conducted a flag staff crossdeck at sea, above, from Belleau Wood (LHA 3) to Essex (LHD 2). The Essex ESG officially stood up the next day.
The Raytheon Co. received a sixth full-rate production contract for AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receivers on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
On 12 July a T-45C Goshawk of Training Squadron 7 suffered Class A damage when it departed the runway at NAS Meridian, Miss. The student pilot ejected without injury.
While operating in Oregon on 21 July, an F/A-18A Hornet and F/A-18B Hornet of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 134 collided in midair, with two fatalities.
On 10 August four aircrewmen aboard a Sea Control Squadron 35 S-3B Viking were killed following a crash on an island off Japan (see page 35).
An MH-53E Sea Dragon of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 4 suffered Class A damage on 10 August when it became airborne during a stop on the taxiway in the wash area and struck the ground at NAS Sigonella, Italy.
On 11 August a CH-53E Super Stallion of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 crashed in Iraq, with two fatalities.
Three aircrew members aboard a Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 CH-53D Sea Stallion were injured during a crash at MCAS Futenma, Japan, on 13 August.
An F/A-18C Hornet of Strike Fighter Squadron 151 suffered Class A damage when it departed the runway at NAS North Island, Calif., on 26 August. The pilot ejected successfully.
During operations in the Arabian Gulf on 31 August, a UH-3H Sea King of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2 was damaged and its copilot injured when the rotor blades struck the tail pylon after landing.
On 14 September an F/A-18C Hornet of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 212 suffered Class A damage when it crashed while holding prior to approach for landing at Tindal, Australia. There were no injuries.
EDITED BY WENDY LELAND