Australian Army achieves 100 percent availability on Rockwell Collins CH-47F equipment

Problem: The Australian Defence Materiel Organisation came to Rockwell Collins in 2015 with a tall order. It wanted guaranteed, 100-percent availability on all the Rockwell Collins equipment aboard 10 new Boeing CH-47F Chinook rotorcraft scheduled for delivery later that year. And it wanted this level of ongoing support at the fixed price it had in mind. In addition to the CH-47F equipment support, the organization needed life-cycle support for three Transportable Flight Proficiency Simulators and two Fly Away Kits.

Solution: Given the amount of content Rockwell Collins has on the CH-47F – including its Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit – it made sense for the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation to deal directly with Rockwell Collins for support services. This set up a collaborative environment that enabled the Australian customer and Rockwell Collins to work as a close-knit team. Its members engaged in open, frank discussions about the fleet’s support needs. These discussions helped sort support elements into “must have,” “nice to have” and “not needed” categories. The team was able to eliminate some of the lower-priority elements and arrive at a fixed price that satisfied everyone. Because it is a fixed-price contract, the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation can count on 100 percent cost predictability for all services. The fixed price also gives Rockwell Collins a strong incentive to continually improve its support. During early discussions, Rockwell Collins advised the customer using examples from its ongoing experience supporting the large fleet of CAAS-equipped CH-47F rotorcraft for the United States Army. By taking best practices from the U.S. Army support model and applying them where they made a natural fit for the Australian fleet, the end result has been a very lean, effective support operation. Rockwell Collins has been able to easily handle any technical or logistical issues on its CH-47F equipment for the Australian Army.

Once the Australian Army awarded Rockwell Collins the three year performance-based logistics (PBL) contract, support began immediately. It covered the following three areas:

  • Field service engineering – A Rockwell Collins field service engineer is embedded full-time with the 5th Aviation Regiment at Royal Australian Air Force RAAF Base Townsville.
  • Materiel support – Rockwell Collins manages 17 distinct part numbers (comprising 335 line replaceable units, including spares). The field service engineer is the logistics support representative at the base for Rockwell Collins equipment and manages the repair chain activity at the customer end. The Rockwell Collins repair facility in Sydney processes all incoming and outgoing repairs.
  • Test equipment – An O-level test set called the software load stand/test station verifies faults and loads software on CAAS line replaceable units removed from the rotorcraft.

Results: All Rockwell Collins equipment on aircraft, simulators and Fly Away Kits are 100 percent available to the Australian Army. In fact, the PBL contract requires Rockwell Collins to meet a 100 percent availability metric each month on all 17 Rockwell Collins part numbers. If it ever fails to meet this requirement, Rockwell Collins will be subject to a 10 percent reduction in its fee. As the PBL contract enters its second year in 2016, Rockwell Collins continues to meet the 100 percent availability standard. The close collaboration between Rockwell Collins and this customer helps ensure that the Australian Army’s CH-47F fleet is ready for any mission.

Story posted: April 3, 2012

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