Micro-Miniature Repair Preserves the Fleet

Story by Lt.j.g. Joshua Frye

INGLESIDE, TX – The Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) will potentially save $1.1 million during the next two to three years by putting to use the Navy's Miniature/Micro-miniature (2M) Electronic Repair Program on hulls 9-14.

In the face of today’s budget cutbacks, the MCMRON understands conserving funds. Searching for cost-cutting measures, the class squadron (CLASSRON) and South Central Regional Maintenance Center (SCRMC) in Ingleside joined forces to tap into the 2M Program.

Each Avenger Class Mine Countermeasures (MCM) ship has two Hydraulic Power Units (HPU) used to power aft deck gear which are necessary for mechanical and influence minesweeping. Although they can operate with one HPU, the system is subject to overheating when doing so and may require the ship to wait for it to cool before recovery of the gear can resume. In an emergency, if both HPU's are down (for any reason), the only pieces of gear that can be operated are the winches (via a chain and hand crank). This is a slow and time-consuming process and much of the gear is too heavy to be recovered in this manner. The Captain of the ship would be forced to "scuttle" (cut loose) the sweep in order to get out of a bind, which could result in the loss of millions of dollars worth of equipment.

Between November 2006 and November 2008, the Avenger class experienced 10 failures of HPU Control Units (36% of all in the force). Five of those were in the six months leading up to November 2008.

At the time, there were two ships with faulty systems, the stock system was depleted and the Navy had spent nearly $650,000 buying operational units.

The lead time for a replacement is five months.

MCM CLASSRON and SCRMC collaborated to investigate a viable means of repairing the systems. They determined that control units, which consist of three separate circuit cards, are repairable by a 2M technician. Unfortunately, the 2M Program did not support these cards.

Not to be dissuaded, the Ingleside partners contacted the Navy Module Test and Repair (MTR) Program at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Norfolk to begin the process of creating "gold-disks," the documentation required to conduct a 2M repair for the circuit cards.

Several MCM crews provided sample cards to the SCRMC 2M shop allowing Electronic Technicians 1st Class Phillip Makuch and 2nd Class Samuel Sellers to conduct a 'learning' process that created a detailed roadmap for future technicians to use. The learning was complete after three runs to ensure accuracy on each card. After they were verified, the gold-disks were created.

This process is available Fleet wide. The readiness community just needs to identify the assets and obtain the proper 2M support.

For more information on Navy 2M, including how to obtain gold-disk support for a particular system, contact the Navy Module Test and Repair Program at help@nor.nuwc.navy.mil