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Aviation Sustainment Across the Strategic Support Area

This is Your Army! / By GEN Edward M. Daly: The U.S. Army Materiel Command must remain engaged in our Service’s role in both competition and conflict, all while navigating through unpredictable crises and embracing change across our institution.

Armament Platoon conducting re-arms with Shops and Maintenance platoon D Co/1-3rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, on an AH-64D Apache at Range 301, Grafenwöhr Training Area on July 20./ \U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY SGT JUSTIN ASHAW

As a stakeholder in the Army Modernization Enterprise (AME), AMC’s sustainment capabilities and global reach allow us to play a critical role in supporting our Army’s modernizing and enduring aviation, missile, and missile defense capabilities.

As General Gus Perna wrote on these pages last year, “supply availability and equipment readiness are the foundation of materiel and aviation readiness, ensuring Soldiers and units have the right equipment, parts and materiel to achieve their mission – anytime, anyplace.” Much work has been done during the past few years to successfully create that foundation resulting in an increase to readiness.

We are now facing a period of rapid modernization that requires a holistic approach in the sustainment warfighting function from the Strategic Support Area to the tactical points of contact. The pace and volume of change brought about by the fielding of Multi-Domain platform capabilities requires collaboration with our strategic partners, harmonized by the Cross Functional Teams (CFTs). This requires addressing sustainment requirements in new systems, directing supply chain transformation, and modernizing our industrial base and infrastructure to keep pace with our nation’s requirements.

We must channel our efforts and resources on driving key outputs to our force, ensuring sustained, ready, and lethal forces wherever and whenever we are called by our nation. AMC, through the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), focuses our efforts to modernize while simultaneously sustaining enduring capabilities through two primary efforts. The first is Industrial Base Readiness which includes: OIB Workload and Repair Cycle Float, Advanced Manufacturing (AM) / Digital Thread, and OIB Facilities Modernization. The second is Supply Availability and Equipment Readiness which includes increased supply availability (SA), readiness rates for tactical units, Prognostics/Predictive Maintenance (PPMx), strategic divestiture, and distribution of new equipment and displacement. Focusing on these efforts will ensure we adapt all systems to effective sustainment paradigms.

Modernizing Capabilities – Partnering to Ensure Sustainment

AMC applied a “whole of AMC” approach to modernization and sustainment of Army systems to support both WayPoint 2028 and AimPoint 2035 described in the Army Modernization Strategy executed through collaboration and unity of effort in the AME. AMC is a supporting command to the Army Futures Command (AFC) which is the supported command for Army Modernization Force Design and Force Development. AMC is the supporting command to U.S. Army Forces Command which is the supported command for the Force Employment to support the ready force. In the AME, AMC is the supported command for Force Sustainment and Strategic Divestiture. Our Life Cycle Management Commands (LCMCs) align to both the PEOs and CFTs, with AMCOM aligned to PEO Aviation, PEO Missiles and Space, and CFTs: Future Vertical Lift, Air and Missile Defense, and Long Range Precision Fires.

Close collaboration with PEOs and CFTs enables AMCOM to drive the sustainment requirements of materiel availability, reliability, and operational & sustainability (O&S) costs in capability development documents. This informs industrial base, infrastructure, and supply chain modernization requirements.

Specific to aviation and missile programs, AMCOM supports Future Vertical Lift (FVL) CFT programs with dedicated professional logisticians and sustainment experts to develop foundational program and system documentation. This includes the Life Cycle Sustainment Plan (LCSP) and capabilities development documents. These documents ensure key system attributes and planning factors create supportable and affordable platforms and weapons systems to meet the challenges of Large-Scale Combat Operations.

Key enablers to develop and maintain supportable and affordable weapons systems include:

• Modernized facilities, depots, arsenals, installations and power projection platforms.
• Embedded PPMx on platforms
to build a smarter, more effective
supply chain.
• Integrated artificial intelligence capabilities into enterprise-wide decision making.
• Advanced Manufacturing (AM) from SSA to the points of contact. In conjunction with the Army’s new policy on intellectual property (IP), we are shaping smart IP arrangements with systems developers to ensure we can embrace new expeditionary parts generation capabilities.

The aviation force of the future requires a supply chain that can identify and redistribute capabilities faster. To meet this challenge, AMC is developing enterprise-level technologies to increase the ability to make informed senior leader decisions across our supported platforms. To support supply chain and decision making processes, AMC recently spearheaded the roll out of the Strategic Support Area Business Reporting Environment (SABRE). This system captures and leverages unique and traditional systems reporting to build a strategic view of our supply chain execution. SABRE is a live workspace for systems-related data, leading to real-time insights and decisions to prevent readiness challenges.

Enduring Systems – Sustainment Focus

Critical to AMC’s support to Army modernization is our ability to continue to develop and refine effective, affordable, and sustainable options for enduring fleet sustainment. When we apply targeted resources and sustainment ingenuity, we also free up resources for modernizing and fielding through the continued refinement of courses of action to sustain our current fleets. We are driving hard to develop a wide-range of sustainment options across our AH-64, UH-60, and CH-47 fleets to offer the Army options above phase maintenance, but below full overhaul / recapitalization, to ensure long-term fleet health.

We are also investing heavily in applying reliability-centered maintenance and related technologies across our maintenance data repositories to find targeted parts investments. This reduces maintenance costs and time burdens through early failure identification. Specifically within our organic industrial base, we are spearheading pilot programs to overhaul AH-64 and CH-47 aircraft, creating additional sustainment options to current fleets. We are also offering the Army more surge capabilities in support of LSCO. We continue to build UH-60V digitized platforms, affording our Army upgraded battlefield capabilities at reduced costs while the Army makes long-term decisions on Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). Additionally, the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) is an important portion of the aviation modernization strategy and a key component of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) platform going forward. It is planned to be integrated into the Black Hawk and Apache platforms and replace the 701D engines.

AMCOM will continue to refine our Logistics Readiness Centers – Aviation construct, ensuring that AMCOM-generated capabilities keep pace with the needs of our fighting force. We recently led intensive maintenance training for Soldiers of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade at CCAD, training junior officers and maintainers on critical maintenance. We will continue to integrate our sustainers as these Soldiers grow and develop to maintain our FVL systems of the future. The ongoing partnerships between the user, acquisition, and support communities help ensure our legacy and future fleets are better postured for readiness and combat capability.

We are simultaneously developing AM capabilities across our existing organic industrial base to augment supplies in surge scenarios as well as to develop manufacturing-enabling tools at the points of contact. AMC invests in realizing AM outcomes across the Army, supporting both enduring and future systems. As part of this investment, we have established the Rock Island Arsenal - Center of Excellence for Advanced and Additive Manufacturing.

The Way Ahead

AMC maintains a critical role in developing the Army’s future vertical lift capabilities while simultaneously sustaining enduring platforms and systems. We remain heavily engaged in the Army Modernization Enterprise and are investing early in new systems – documentation, planning, and fleet-wide decisions. This ensures our force has an effective mix of ready, reliable, and lethal aviation technologies.

We will continue to invest our time and energy to develop affordable fleet sustainment options in support of Army modernization. We see ourselves, the needs of our Army and nation; and are fully committed to our role in enabling modernization to meet WayPoint and AimPoint milestones while simultaneously sustaining our enduring fleet.

People First! Winning Matters! Army Strong!

GEN Edward M. Daly is the commanding general of U.S. Army Materiel Command headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

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