Boeing is using its resources to develop a way to help sustain the U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier fleet by successfully implementing an innovative prototype design to convert the wing of a British Harrier variant – the Royal Air Force GR9 – into a USMC Harrier wing.
The U.S. Marines have GR9 assets in stock, purchased from across the pond in 2011, and needed help to determine how to best utilize these for their current fleet. AV-8B wings can be challenging to repair because of their extensive use of composite materials and manufacturing techniques that are no longer state of the art. Major repairs can be costly and time-consuming.
Boeing sustainment teams stepped up to support with a prototype sustainment solution. The best part – converting these wings will provide a low-cost, ready inventory of spare wings to the Marines.
The prototype wing will be tested at the Naval Weapons Testing Center at China Lake, Calif., early next year to confirm functional compatibility on a USMC AV-8B Harrier. When testing successfully completes, other GR9 wings will be converted for use in the fleet.
Boeing’s sustainment help is critical as the U.S. Marine Corps plans to extend the life of the jet to 2025 and will need these spares for the aircraft to maintain fleet readiness. Photo credit: Boeing