Managing the through life costs for helicopters

Contributor:  Samantha Tanner
Posted:  02/02/2012  12:00:00 AM EST
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Defence IQ sat down with Michael Golombek, Material and Maintenance Section Leader of NATO Helicopter Management Agency at Military Aviation Repair and Maintenance in October to find out about some of the key areas of helicopter logistics.

What is your primary area of interest?

How to improve support in defense-related aerospace programs. For me the fact that support is the major contributor to the System Through Life Costs gives this topic a high importance – in particular in times of budget cuts.

We are in a time of budget cutbacks across the board. What are the key factors for ensuring that we make the assets we have last as long as they possibly can?

For me the key to achieve maximized affordability is an integrated “cradle-to-grave approach”, which aims for the optimization of an asset’s logistic footprint of from the earliest possible time. This affordability will ultimately determine how long we will be able to operate our assets. A key aspect to achieve this is international co-operation and the willingness to accept pragmatic compromises – i.e. not to always head for the perfect solution.

But not only in the field of development, also in the field of logistic processes we need to critically reflect our today’s approaches to ensure an optimized use of resources. Hence we need to take a look at both customer’s and contractor’s resources in order to combine them in a best possible way.

Other that budget, what do you see as biggest hurdles in successful long-term maintenance of our air platforms?

Obsolescence. Given the fact that the importance of electronics dramatically increased in modern aircrafts over the last years, we are forced to face the question how to deal with the “incompatibility” between the short life cycles of electronic components and the long life-time of aircrafts.

If there’s any need for new technology in this field, from your perspective, what would you like to see emerge on the market?

Seeing that pro-active market monitoring approaches for obsolescence are coming-up on component level, I would like to see these monitoring approaches also from an entire system perspective. This would be absolutely necessary for having a sound basis to take the necessary decisions.

How useful is it to meet and discuss with other people involved in repair and maintenance worldwide in a forum such as this?

Very useful. To my mind exchanging ideas with people from other programs and other countries is a great chance to broaden the own horizon. It stimulates thinking “out of the box”.

Samantha Tanner Contributor:   Samantha Tanner

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