Aviation maintenance directly affects an aviation unit’s ability to execute missions and provide combat and service support to ground forces. Failure to maintain aviation assets undoubtedly affects capabilities and sustainment and has a direct impact on mission execution. Without the attack, lift, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities aviation assets provide, the best laid plans and operations are nothing more than a dream of execution. Commanders rely on aviation support, which is predicated on having the appropriate amount of available assets to execute training and combat operations simultaneously. Therefore, it is critical that aviation commanders evaluate their unit’s ability to perform the required (forecasted and unforecasted) maintenance necessary to position assets appropriately for training and fight.
Training Circular (TC) 3-04.71, Commander’s Aviation Maintenance Training Program, dated December 2020, is the reference for aviation commanders, maintenance leaders, officers, noncommissioned officers and technicians with regard to an aviation maintenance training program (AMTP). The AMTP began a phased implementation in October 2018 and will be fully implemented by October 2021. The AMTP is the method by which commanders standardize aviation maintenance training and evaluate their unit’s maintenance capabilities, and is a direct reflection of the unit’s ability to maintain a high operational readiness rate. Additionally, the AMTP establishes and defines the unit’s maintenance level (ML) designations from the apprentice level (ML0) to the master repairer (ML4) (see Figure 1 below). AMTPs are executed and maintained in accordance with TC 3-04.71 and are applicable to all components, one through three (COMPO 1, 2, 3).
All aviation maintainers who conduct maintenance, services or modifications should have a Soldier’s individual critical task list (ICTL). The ICTL is accessible via the Central Army Registry dashboard by military occupational specialty. Instructions for accessing and creating an ICTL are located in TC 3-04.71, Appendix A, Training Products Management. The ICTL should be maintained within Department of the Army Form 3513, Individual Flight Records Folder, United States Army, as part of the AMTP record. If DA Form 3513 is not available, TC 3-04.71 lists a national stock number for a heavy-duty tri-fold folder that will be utilized in lieu of the individual flight records folder (IFRF) (see Figure 2 as an example).
Per TC 3-04.71, other components and optional items of the AMTP record for the IFRF include a DA Form 7817, Aviation Maintainer Training Record, dated October 2020, which is used to permanently record any and all major events and training for the individual maintainer. (See the example list of events to be recorded in TC 3-04.71.) Additionally, there are DA Form 4856, Developmental Counseling Form, forms related to aviation maintenance events such as initial counseling and any failed evaluations located within the AMTP record. Optional forms that may be utilized and maintained in the IFRF include DA Form 5164-R, Hands-On Evaluation, to record an ICTL event or evaluation for an individual, or DA Form 5165-R, Field Expedient Squad Book, which can be used to record an ICTL event for a group of individuals/Soldiers.
Once established and maintained, the IFRF and AMTP record will give commanders a means by which they can determine if a maintainer or maintenance leader is trained and qualified or untrained and awaiting training or evaluation. Additionally, it gives commanders the ability to develop training plans and opportunities based on the ML composition within the unit. Furthermore, by focusing maintenance training at the appropriate ML and standardizing the training, commanders and maintenance leaders will ensure all maintenance progression, proficiency and competency is being evaluated and measured in the same manner. Effectively, commanders will know the qualifications and capabilities of their unit and will be able to program training to enhance the unit’s readiness as well as the individual maintainer’s skills and capabilities. In a well-run and maintained AMTP, an ML1 (journeyman) compared to another ML1 are similarly qualified and competent in their profession with no divergence in their capabilities.
Now is time to ensure your aviation maintenance organizations are adhering to and maintaining an AMTP and IFRF for each aviation maintainer in accordance with TC 3-04.71. Failure to do so could have detrimental effects on your unit’s effectiveness and capabilities as well as be found causal should your unit experience an aviation mishap. Familiarize yourself with TC 3-04.71 and ensure your maintenance leaders and supervisors do the same.