Report | May 19, 2021

Evaluation of the Readiness of the U.S. Navy's P-8A Poseidon Aircraft to Meet the U.S. European Command's Anti-Submarine Warfare Requirements (DODIG-2021-083)

Evaluation

Publicly Released: May 21, 2021

 

Objective

The objective of this evaluation was to determine whether the readiness of the U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon fleet met the anti-submarine warfare requirements of the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM).

 

Background

The P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission maritime aircraft. It is primarily used by Theater Commanders to conduct Anti-Submarine Warfare operations to deny the enemy the effective use of its submarines against the U.S. or allied assets.

In its area of responsibility, USEUCOM faces a Russian naval force that operates ballistic missile submarines capable of reaching targets in the United States, as well as attack submarines that can destroy surface, subsurface, and land targets.

 

Findings

[REDACTED] Commander, Naval Air Forces Instruction 4790.2 requires that U.S. Navy squadrons maintain a mission capability rate of 80 percent. However, during the same period, October 2018 through March 2020, the Navy’s mission capability rates for the P-8A Poseidon fleet were between 53 and 70 percent.

Examples of sustainment problems within the P-8A Poseidon fleet included:

  • P-8A Poseidon squadron maintenance personnel experienced delays identifying and receiving P-8A Poseidon spare parts.
  • The Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) Program Office and the Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support personnel did not provide maintenance personnel with detailed maintenance procedures and technical data for P-8A Poseidon’s mission-specific systems and equipment.
  • P-8A Poseidon squadrons experienced consumable spare parts shortages, such as O rings, valve assemblies, bolts, and rivets, while deployed in the USEUCOM area of responsibility.

The P-8A Poseidon’s low mission capability rate occurred because the MPRA Program Office and Program Executive Office, Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs (PEO) did not develop a supportable sustainment strategy for the P-8A Poseidon fleet. Also, the PEO(A) officials did not oversee the MPRA Program Office personnel’s implementation of corrective actions to address sustainment challenges identified in P-8A independent logistics assessments, in accordance with Secretary of the Navy Instruction 4105.1B and Secretary of the Navy Instruction 4105.1C.

Furthermore, Navy officials did not require the MPRA Program Office to conduct the 5-year sustainment review in accordance with United States Code. Finally, MPRA Program Office and Naval Supply Systems Command personnel did not provide sufficient on-hand stocks of P-8A Poseidon consumable spare parts to meet the USEUCOM demand.

MPRA’s implementation of an incomplete sustainment strategy and program along with a lack of oversight by the PEO(A) throughout the P-8A lifecycle led to sustainment problems that further contributed to the P-8A Poseidon’s low mission capability rate.

 

Recommendations

We recommend that the MPRA Program Manager, in coordination with the Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, and the Naval Air Systems Command P-8A Poseidon Fleet Support Team Engineering and Logistics Leads, develop and implement a plan to address sustainment challenges of the P-8A Poseidon Fleet.

Further, we recommend that the Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support coordinate with the MPRA Program Manager to develop and implement a demand forecast for P-8A Poseidon consumable spare parts in the USEUCOM area of responsibility.

We recommend that the PEO(A):

  • Develop and implement a plan of action and milestones to correct and monitor sustainment
  • deficiencies in the P-8A Poseidon program, in coordination with the MPRA Program Office.
  • Conduct a review of the MPRA Program Office’s processes and procedures to determine whether critical sustainment analyses are conducted, and to improve internal controls of the P-8A Poseidon sustainment strategy.

Finally, we recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Sustainment direct the MPRA Program Manager to conduct 5-year sustainment reviews in accordance with 10 U.S.C. § 2441 (2016) for P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

 

Management Comments and Our Response

The MPRA Program Manager agreed to develop a plan to address the incomplete provisioning of P-8A Poseidon parts and the lack of P-8A Poseidon technical data. This recommendation is resolved but remains open. (U) The NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support Commander addressed P-8A consumable parts at NAS Sigonella, therefore, we consider this recommendation closed.

The PEO(A) agreed to develop plans of action and milestones to correct, monitor, and validate P-8A Poseidon sustainment deficiencies, and review processes for critical sustainment analyses and improving internal controls. This recommendation is resolved but remains open.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Sustainment addressed our recommendation to conduct a P-8A Poseidon sustainment review. This recommendation is resolved but remains open.

 

This report is the product of Proj. No. D2020-DEV0PC-0094.000.