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Richard Bennett (from left) holds a guide rope as Jim LaGue observes from a platform and William Alexander uses a remote controller to hoist the 1,000 pound center barrel of an F/A-18 Hornet Strike Fighter during its removal in a production hangar at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast on Dec. 4. The sheet metal mechanics are assisting with a major structural modification that disassembles the aircraft to facilitate removal and replacement of the main load-bearing structure. The replacement of the center barrel extends the service life of the mission-critical aircraft by as much as 70 percent and provides an economical alternative to procuring new aircraft. The process is usually performed in conjunction with Phased Maintenance Interval One, an inspection-based, major overhaul of the aircraft.