NLR has developed a software tool – Life Cycle Management (Tools4LCM) — for the Dutch Ministry of Defence. The tool provides insights into the factors that contribute to the availability of military equipment, allowing the Ministry to gain valuable insights into the performance of maintenance organisations, the availability of weapon systems, and the related costs.
The two-year programme, in which the NLDA (Netherlands Defence Academy) also participated, was recently completed, providing a ‘demonstrator’ that will remain accessible for additional one year.
A large amount of data is collected during the lifespan of military systems, including for example information about component failures, the time needed to carry out repairs, and the associated costs, as well as information about whether a platform, such as the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s F-16 fighter jets, is deployable. Such data therefore contains a wealth of information, which in theory can be extracted in order to determine what errors were made and what subsequently can be done to correct them. The needed support for conducting in-depth analysis was however delayed until Tools4LCM was developed.
The new tool considers the deployability of weapon systems at fleet level and individual systems level. For example a sudden decrease in the availability of CV90s can be noted,. The CV90 is an armoured vehicle of the Royal Netherlands Army. By focusing in on the detailed database of maintenance data, one can clearly discern the underlying reasons for issues like decreasing availability, such as some of the equipment having been deployed in international exercises. Problems may also have arisen due to shortages of spare parts. The amount of time that maintenance teams need to complete work orders can also be a key indicator in analyses of faltering availability.
Unlike the previous monthly status updates, the factors influencing the Life Cycle Management are included on a daily basis within Tools4LCM, as this allows for quick analyses and reactions.
Thanks to a link to a logistic management system, accurate insights are also available of the costs associated with maintenance operations, which allows for expensive maintenance activities to possibly be avoided.
At present the developed performance indicators serve as the basis for the Royal Netherlands Army’s monthly reports on CV90s. Valuable experience with this innovative system will also be gained through its use in the F-16 platform.