U.S. Navy Eyes International Pilot, Maintainer Training Center

An F/A-18 is repaired at Fleet Readiness Center-West.
Credit: US Navy

DALLAS—A U.S. Navy proposal now under review would establish a dedicated training center for aircraft pilots and maintainers in foreign militaries, a service official said at Aviation Week’s Military Aviation Logistics and Maintenance Symposium here on April 27. 

The proposal would build on the International Sustainment Center (ISC) opened by the Navy in 2016, says Balwindar Rawalay-VanDeVoort, a division director at the center. 

The Navy established the ISC using existing facilities that had been underused, creating a dedicated space to repair Boeing F/A-18s and other aircraft operated by foreign militaries. Those aircraft had been repaired in the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Centers, but U.S.-operated aircraft received priority in those facilities, Rawalay-VanDeVoort says.

“So we looked at that [problem] and the International Sustainment Center was born,” Rawalay-VanDeVoort says.

The ISC also provides a limited amount of training for foreign pilots and maintainers, but that service could be expanded. 

“Right now we’re in the process of having a business case analysis done to help us to determine if it makes sense to build an international training campus somewhere, and that way we can expand on that flight and maintenance training,” Rawalay-VanDeVoort says.

The expansion of international support for the Navy’s aircraft is going both ways. The Navy has been in the process of qualifying Australian suppliers to repair damaged components on F/A-18 and MH-60 helicopters, she says. 

“Instead of bringing that F-18 all the way back to the United States to get repaired if there’s some battle damage, we are using the MRO facilities that are already available in Australia,” Rawalay-VanDeVoort says.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.


1 Comment
Traditionally, I believe, the Navy has provided foreign pilot training out of NAS Pensacola.

Where is the current ISC located, and where might an expanded offering be located? I can only imagine how such a facility would be expanded given the increasing F-35 inventory.