Optimizing Marine Corps pilot conversion to the Joint Strike Fighter
Holloway, Shannon V.
Dell, Robert F.
Brown, Gerald G.
Carlyle, Matthew W.
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The United States Marine Corps is replacing its fixed wing fighter and attack aircraft with the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Retirement of F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers will make their associated military occupational specialties obsolete. The conversion of personnel to the new aircraft must be carefully managed to ensure appropriate manning levels for the Joint Strike Fighter, while maintaining adequate quantities of experienced personnel in the legacy communities. The Deputy Commandant for Aviation manages the manpower requirements to support the new aircraft through boards which select the best qualified applicants for transition and conversion training. Transition or conversion training serves to balance current aviator inventories with future Marine Corps requirements. This thesis presents the Marine Corps Pilot Conversion Analysis Tool which uses an integer linear program to prescribe pilots for accession and conversion to the new aircraft based on military occupational specialty, years of commissioned service, and level of experience. Our analysis shows that the current plan meets the total pilot accession and conversion requirement, but does not select enough junior-ranking officers to maintain the hierarchical structure desired. Further analysis shows that significantly increasing new accessions and conversions of junior officers provides the best pilot-to-billet matches while generating the smallest training flight-hour backlog.
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