A key to making it all work is having the budget to pay for the maintenance work. If it takes less time to go through maintenance, it costs less. If it costs less, there’s more ships available and the shipyard can put more ships through there, everyone is a winner.
At a high-level sustainment strategies are aimed at integrating requirements, product support elements, funding, and risk management to provide oversight of the aircraft.
For example, these sustainment strategies can be documented in a life-cycle sustainment plan, postproduction support plan, or an in-service support plan, among other types of documented strategies.
Additionally, program officials stated aircraft sustainment strategies are an important management tool for the sustainment of the aircraft by documenting requirements that are known by all stakeholders, including good practices identified in sustaining each aircraft.
In Live-fire excercises we’ve noticed partners tend to under invest in simulation training for expeditionary logistics/ sustainment. That creates a whole mess of problems. What we don’t want is for major weapons systems to “turn into a paperweight down the road, and the only way that we can fix that is by making sure we’re having good, candid conversations about Sustainment Simulations up front.”
Must push services to focus on upkeep of existing goods, rather than chasing the shiny object,” The fact that equipment deployment comes with a long tail of sustainment and logistics training is a point Pentagon officials need to make use when discussing deployment of weapons systems.
Our office now has a system in place where “we can see the kind of sustainment we’re providing to every partner we can see the sustainment profile of each system which is going to allow us to then have the dialogue to show them ‘this is what you look like, this is what you bought into, this is the performance level, or this is where you need to contribute more to planning of sustainment phases of expeditionary exercises.
Part of that pitch involves arguing that sustainment logistics isn’t just about maintaining what you have, but opening up future opportunities. We have emphasised increasing capability for existing systems. The argument is such that as those capabilities come online, the better maintained your equipment is, the better chance you have to load new technologies onto older platforms.
Due to funding shortfalls, the services have reduced contract support levels, intermediate level repairs, and ability to provide after-hours support in specific areas. Although extensive efforts have been expended to limit adverse impact to weapons systems undergoing maintenance, fiscal realities have forced us into these actions.
Specifically, we are forced to stop engineering support to include tank and void inspections, infrared surveys, underway vibration analysis and availability work certifications.
Reduction in parts procurement means a stop to all major diesel work, torpedo tube repairs and refurbishment, air compressor overhauls, communication receiver and transmitter repairs, and repairs to electronic warfare and anti-ship missile decoy systems.
Maintenance optimisation models maximise balance between cost/benefit of maintenance. For given system with failure rate profiles of its components and the available maintenance resources, maintenance optimisation model provides the answer to questions like:
“What is the optimal number of maintenance tasks required on this piece of equipment for a given time horizon?”
“When is the appropriate time to execute maintenance action?”
In more complex cases, optimisation model also includes decisions about the spare parts policy for components and estimating number of maintenance crews required in given shift.
Capacity for applications described in this report currently consider only subset of missions and focuses on equipment-specific planning factors.
Future work will expand application to include other missions and will include additions or process advance of existing features—for example, the addition of a consistency test for relative task importance selection.
The first challenge is how to deal with common tasks when considering multiple missions. It may be the case that a single command centre is all that is required to accommodate multiple missions, but the equipment needed to support each mission may differ in some way. In other words, although the task is “common,” there may be unique, mission-specific requirements for accomplishing it.
Second challenge concerns sequencing tasks and assigning relative importance at the task level versus the mission level. A typical example might be transport of equipment to new staging area. If mission A is designated more important than mission B, does that mean that all tasks associated with mission A have absolute priority? If not, how do we provide the user with the ability to designate exceptions at the task level?
Types of vehicles, equipment and weapon systems found in motor pools today cannot be maintained properly without the authorised tools.
Commanders, unit maintenance & supervisors must ensure that all sets, kits, outfits and special tools are being used and maintained properly; properly accounted for; and promptly replaced when unserviceable or lost.
Unit mechanics cannot be expected to properly troubleshoot, remove, or replace components unless the right tool is readily available and serviceable as called for in the equipment task order.
Maintenance supervisors must screen equipment 24/7 level parts manuals to obtain markings for special tools. They must also ensure hand receipts are prepared to maintain accountability for these tools.
Sustainment cost estimates are derived by integrating technical assessment and schedule risk impacts on resources and providing programme life-cycle cost excursions from near-term budget execution impacts and external budget changes and constraints.
Additionally, team attention to risk factors is most effective if it is fully integrated with the programme systems engineering and programme administration processes—as a driver and a dependency on those processes for root cause and consequence control.
One benefit of strategic sourcing is shifting the focus from looking only at the purchase price to understanding the total cost of owning or consuming a product or service. For significant spend areas, new procurement teams must abandon outmoded practice of receiving multiple bids and selecting a supplier simply on price.
Instead, they consider many other factors that affect the total cost of ownership since acquisition costs do not even account for at third of the total cost for most products and services. The balance of the total comprises operating, training, maintenance, quality, and transportation costs as well as the cost to salvage product value later on.
Identifying the total cost of ownership requires looking at the entire process of procuring and consuming the product or service, something that can only happen with cooperation and input from both the buyer and the seller. DoD must not stop there, must also ask suppliers and internal stakeholders the following important question: "How can we work together to reduce the total cost of ownership?"
Establishing a "total cost of ownership" mindset is a goal that DoD supply line teams must embrace and perpetuate throughout the entire enterprise. But it is not always easy to convince leadership to truly prioritise value over price.
Many sustainment challenges have lead to less than desirable outcomes for F-35 warfighter readiness. For example, many F-35 aircraft were unable to fly because of parts shortages. DoD capabilities to repair F-35 parts at military depots were years behind schedule, which resulted in average part repair times that are twice that of the program objectives
Simulation provides for production/maintenance re-planning once the cooperation is settled, with agents informing each other about every relevant change. If the initiator requires a change of product support contract conditions, it informs the subcontractor about its requirements and subcontractor tries to meet the new specification.
If the subcontractor can finish its sub-task sooner or later then agreed, it immediately informs the task originator. When one of agents goes off-line, the connection is delayed and during a next successful connection all accumulated changes are exchanged.
Any partner as well as some kind of independent product support organisation can run agent feedback to monitor and evaluate any cooperation, like asking for communication logs, which can or may not be provided. Available product support metrics can be used for evaluation, measurement and future optimisation of cooperation.
The heart of our product support administrative actions is set of planning resource agents using manufacturing case-specific approaches.
DoD has procured weapon systems in the past without regard for the resources required to support and maintain the system. As the services procured weapons, they tended to focus on performance parameters such as the ability of a fighter aircraft to execute sharp turns or the ability of a weapon to fire long distances.
But weapon systems with top notch performance profiles are of little use to the combatant commanders if those weapon systems are not available for use when the commander needs them, or the services cannot afford to support them once fielded.
Once the system is fielded, actual performance tracking enables corrective actions and adjustments to the product support package as required to achieve Warfighter requirements and to control O&S costs. This is accomplished by continually comparing performance against requirements, defined as thresholds; and expectations, defined as objectives.
Actual equipment and product support performance metrics are used, improving product support strategies to meet field use requirements. This includes updating the assessments to examine actual versus predicted cost and performance, supply chain processes based on actual values to help balance logistics support through a thorough review of readiness degraders, maintenance info, maintenance capability, and product support process implementation.
For example, reliability metrics captured through the maintenance process can be compared, using reliability modeling, to specified system reliability. Those components that are critical reliability drivers can then be submitted for review to determine the most cost-effective risk mitigation strategies.
Must focus on optimising maintenance workload tracking across the enterprise and at Sustainment Centre level across all complexes by serving as a single entry point to outside customers with capability to identify workload capabilities and shortfalls across the enterprise and use this information to pursue new/repatriated workload.
An improved, single-interface solution will serve to share backshop and local manufacturing workload solutions among the complexes, reduce costs, accelerate feedback loops, and develop greater local manufacturing agility
Must have a robust and agile single-interface solution that provides optimum visibility and improvement opportunities for the Maintenance Repair/Overhaul enterprise based on capabilities and capacities utilising the guidance reflected in the Technology Repair Centre construct.
Logistics Complexes operate with some different business processes creating conditions where complex cannot provide standardised guidance. Does not have optimum visibility of capability, capacity, or cost across enterprise.
There are many programmes, processes and offices working multiple issues related to capacity, manpower workload and so on, but no aggregated metrics to allow assessments at the complex level. Assessments are performed in a variety of efforts throughout the enterprise but they do not use the same methodology.
Even if complex had good metrics on capability and capacity, the lack of common equipment and tools makes temporary shifts to balance back shop and local manufacturing workload very difficult.
Well-designed enterprise-level Strategic Sustainment Frameworks are required to provide an overall site picture of current and future workload in areas such as backlog of workloads, surplus capacity, manpower requirements by skills, facilities capabilities, machine capabilities and space requirements.
Complex is at risk of discarding essential equipment and skill sets without Strategic Sustainment Teams in place to review in-house repair shop capabilities and verify interdependent capabilities are retained before restructures or consolidations. There is no enterprise level strategy in place to review any potential short or long-term workload reassignments.
DoD has limited visibility into the support that the contractor will provide along with the actual costs for which the services are responsible, until after the contract is signed. These transparency concerns are complicated by the fact that the services are paying into shared pools for F-35 sustainment, and the costs they are being charged for some requirements—such as for spare parts—cannot be directly tracked to an item that the services own or support that is specifically provided to an individual service.
Many parts on some aircraft that need to be repaired and replaced that were not accounted for during initial sustainment analysis. To mitigate some challenges associated with the age of the fixed-wing aircraft, Navy program officials have decided to extend the service life of some aircraft by repairing and overhauling airframes and components, as well as developing the engineering specifications for parts that were never planned to be repaired or replaced
1. Shortages of spare parts partially result of delays in the establishment of depot repair capabilities
2. Incomplete plans and funding did not account for the long lead time for parts
3. Insufficient amounts of service funding, and poor reliability of certain parts
4. Challenge related to poor reliability of certain parts to include parts that are breaking more often than expected
5. Large number of parts being sent to the depots for repair that do not actually need to be repaired
6. Challenges with squadron-level maintenance troubleshooting.
7. Difficult to improve production and repair capacity of suppliers
8. Timing of the military services’ funding authorisations not aligned with required lead time for parts status updates
9. Planned funding and contract awards still forecasted to be later than needed to meet demand for new parts
10. Parts shortages are expected to continue and may worsen if DoD and contractors cannot implement corrective actions