128th Aviation Brigade / By SSG Calvin Butts: Acquisition logistics doesn’t mean just fielding the best aircraft in the Army, in the case of the UH-60V it also means fielding a state-of-the-art maintenance support system as well as a cutting edge training concept.
The “modernization” of the UH-60L to the UH-60V will provide digital connectivity for enhanced situational awareness and improved lift, range, deployability, and survivability of the aircraft and crew. The UH-60V program will employ technologies that will improve reliability, availability, and maintainability while reducing operational and support (O&S) costs, logistics functions that will result in decreased maintenance actions and maintenance times – a maintainer’s dream come true!
This admirable design will be accomplished through a modification of the existing UH-60L to a configuration that includes a digital infrastructure that will allow the pilot to interface with the aircraft in the same manner as they interface with the UH-60M. The UH-60V program will include an evolutionary acquisition approach that leverages mature technologies that have been successfully integrated on other military aircraft. The program will reduce obsolescence and increase commonality and interoperability by installing a digital cockpit; bussing and upgrading the communication/identification suite; improving navigation guidance; and integrating aircraft survivability equipment (ASE), digital moving map, and Joint Variable Message Format (JVMF) messaging. There are lots of additional capabilities for pilots but someone has to make sure it works as advertised.
The Impacts for Maintainers
So what does all this mean to UH-60V maintainers? At first glance it would appear to be a huge maintenance and training burden. Your first thoughts as a maintainer are probably that all the new electronics and avionics will require additional maintenance and training as well as more of your time on the flight line.
Through the “magic” of an Integrated Logistics Support Program, the consideration and development of support concepts will lessen the maintenance and training burden instead of increasing. How is this possible? The UH-60V will leverage a large portion of the existing UH-60 for common hardware. Nothing was redesigned for the sake of redesign. If it works well today, it will work well in the UH-60V. For components that are UH-60V unique, the procurement of spare parts will happen early in the process.
The UH-60V will use the MOS maintenance structure supporting the UH-60 today. No special identifiers are envisioned as required to maintain this variant. Initial maintainer training will occur at the unit as the aircraft is fielded, transition training at the unit. Future upgrades to the aircraft are planned to be handled the same way with training coming to the units. The training concept is a real paradigm shift from today’s concept where all training happens at a single fixed location. The quality of training will not suffer from this concept. Maintainers can expect the same or better training at their unit locations as they would receive if attending resident training.
Retaining the Concept
The maintenance concept remains the same as the existing UH-60 fleet; two-level maintenance with less of a dependence on depot and contractor-assisted maintenance. A proposed change is some of the line replaceable units (LRUs) are being designed so that unit-level maintainers will be able to fault isolate to cards in the LRUs and be able to repair those cards at the unit level. The idea is maintainers will also be able to load operational software to the new “black boxes” and verify the software loaded works through a software loader verifier kit. The integration of the software loader verifier on the UH-60V now makes this maintenance concept and equipment common across the entire UH-60 fleet.
One of the most important aspects of the Acquisition Logistics program for the UH-60V is that the government will take receipt of all technical data for the aircraft. The Government will control the configuration of the aircraft and will now have the ability to control software support and hardware upgrades. Controlling the technical data also equates to controlling the technical manual process.
Using an already proven and capable airframe, digital technology, increased survivability, training and maintaining at the unit level with a logistics program that reduces outside costs would seem like a ‘win-win” for the U.S. military. What would that give us? An aircraft program that will lead the way for all services to use as a model and continue our superior support for Coalition Armed Forces.