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DCMA AIMO team supports Blue Angel transition

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NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. — The last “blue” Blue Angel aircraft, BL001, piloted by Navy Capt. Eric Holmberg, Defense Contract Management Agency Aircraft Integrated Maintenance Operations commander, was recently delivered to the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

DCMA AIMO actively manages aircraft overhaul, modification, maintenance and repair in 10 states and oversaw the delivery of more than 700 aircraft last year. DCMA AIMO personnel oversee contract operations, performing safety-of-flight, quality, engineering, contracting and administrative functions for a wide range of modification and repair services including those performed on F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet (A through F models) aircraft.

BL001, better known as “Blue-1,” was the 701st F/A-18 aircraft delivered to Navy and Marine Corps squadrons since the contractor began Hornet modification and repair operations in October 1999.

Although one unpainted Blue Angel aircraft still remains, “the milestone delivery of BL001 to the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron at Naval Air Station Pensacola was made possible through the professionalism, technical expertise and solid teamwork by all involved,” Holmberg said.

The Navy’s Blue Angels have been flying single-seat A- and two-seat B-model F/A-18 Hornets since 1986 but are now exchanging them for newer F/A-18 C- and D-model aircraft. In 2007, the contractor was tasked to convert 10 fleet aircraft to the Blue Angel configuration, a process which includes gun system removal and installation of a smoke trail system, an extended inverted flight fuel system, a civilian instrument landing system, and several other modifications required for the unique NFDS mission.

Because the replacement C- and D-model Hornets have been in active fleet status for a substantial time, various other repairs were required to ready them for service as “Blue” jets. “Some of those repairs constituted significant technical challenges and are a testament to the great DCMA-AIMO and contractor teaming effort,” Holmberg said. “The execution and administration of this F/A-18 contract continues to be a model program in many respects. I am convinced this is in large part due to the experienced and mission-focused DCMA AIMO team who are always giving 110 percent.”

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