Vice Adm. Carl Chebi recognized the Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office (PMA-226) Adversary Aircraft team with a NAVAIR Commander’s Award for procurement with most innovative reduction in cost and cycle time at a ceremony April 20 held in Patuxent River. Pictured, from left: Tom Rudowsky, NAVAIR deputy commander and PMA-226 team members Jesse Steel, Candice Anderson, and Kelly Bott. 


NAVAIR Commander’s Awards recognizes Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office for cost-effective, rapid procurement

NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Carl Chebi recognized the Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office (PMA-226) Adversary Aircraft team with a NAVAIR Commander’s Award for procurement with most innovative reduction in cost and cycle time during the Commander’s Awards  ceremony April 20 at  Patuxent River.

The Adversary Aircraft team’s novel strategy to modernize Navy and Marine Corps F-5 aircraft reduced development cost by 78 percent, procurement cycle time by 68 percent and resulted in fleet delivery of the first modernized F-5 aircraft in less than three years.

“The team used innovative thinking to provide on-time improvements to the aging F-5 aircraft. Their hard work and dedication are to be commended and they are most deserving of this award,” said Capt. Gregory Sutton, PMA-226 program manager.  

By combining an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) approach while leveraging existing commercial items and an accelerated three-month test program, the PMA-226 team delivered aircraft that addressed the top three naval aviation requirements group priorities, five of the top systems safety working group identified risks and mitigated potential safety issues. 

The PMA-226 team executed the F-5 block upgrade project (BUP) which not only improved the F-5 adversary aircraft’s air combat training capability, but also improved the safety and reliability of the aircraft originally designed in the 1970s. As the Navy accelerates their strategy of preparing for the high-end fight, the Adversary Aircraft team’s approach resulted in the acquisition and installation of upgrades with speed and affordability, resulting in a modernized aircraft. 

The team’s OTA approach reduced procurement cycle time for the first aircraft from 22 months to only seven months, and allowed the team to leverage previous industry investments, avoiding unnecessary design and leading to delivery of the first two upgraded F-5N aircraft at a savings of more than $50 million.  

The team completed the test program in just three months by involving both industry and fleet adversary operators for direct input, conducting test events at the industry site with a tightly integrated and co-located government operator. The team’s approach for these initial aircraft also lays the groundwork for the modernization and decades of service life extension for the entire F-5 adversary fleet.

The new aircraft configuration delivered from the block upgrade program established the baseline for 22 F-5E/F aircraft repatriated from the Swiss Air Force and scheduled to start inducting into reconfiguration and modification under the F-5 Avionics Reconfiguration and Tactical Enhancement/Modernization for Inventory Standardization (ARTEMIS) program scheduled to begin later this year.  

“Combined with ARTEMIS program synchronization, the F-5 BUP program has laid the foundation for modern adversary capability through the 2040s with less risk, thereby protecting aircrews and ensuring decades of naval aviators are highly trained and capable in defeating air-to-air threats,” said Boyd Forsythe, PMA-226 Adversary Aircraft team lead. 

About PMA-226 

PMA-226 is responsible for lifecycle cradle to grave management of several legacy and out of inventory aircraft and engines, assigned by NAVAIR and contracted air services. Assigned platforms and services include adversary aircraft (F-5, F-16); contracted aircraft services; U.S. Naval Test Pilot School / Naval Postgraduate School T-38, H-72, X-26, U-6, NU-1B, O-2, OH-58C; and out of active Navy inventory aircraft T-2, H-2, H-3, A-4, in support of the Naval Aviation Enterprise and our international partners.  

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