Sustainment Measures for Fighter Jet Engines 2001-01-2975
The US Air Force (USAF) has evolved a policy for the acquisition of fighter jet engines (FJE). In the 1970s and 1980s that policy placed a premium on FJE performance primarily measured by the metric: thrust/engine weight. In the 1990s, the USAF policy changed from an emphasis on performance to reduced life-cycle cost with a premium on sustainment. This paper reports the results of a study of how the USAF and Corporation Alpha (Alpha) have adapted their processes, practices, and policies to design, develop, manufacture, test, and sustain a family of FJEs. Each member of the family of FJEs is sequentially linked relative to insertion of technology designed to reduce sustainment costs.
In addition to the technology linkages, the development of the family of FJEs selected for this case study is also tracked relative to US Department of Defense and USAF policy and industry design, build, and maintain processes, methods, and tools. This paper discerns the complex, highly integrated manner that characterizes the interaction between (1) technology, (2) policy, and (3) manufacturing and sustainment tools to produce a family of FJEs with improving sustainment qualities and non-degrading performance.
The metric Unscheduled Engine Removals (UER) per 1000 Effective Flight Hours (UER/1000EFH) is used to compare the sustainability of each member of the selected family of FJEs. Our results are based on data obtained through a series of field interviews of USAF and civilian government personnel and Alpha personnel. The US government extensive database containing UER information is the primary source of MRO trends for the FJEs of this study. Our analysis shows that the family of FJEs sustainability, as measured by the UER metric, has not improved beyond 106 EFH for each succeeding generation in the selected FJE family. We conjecture that upstream policy, technology insertion, and manufacturing and sustainment tools are not the primary determinants of sustainability; the manner in which the FJE is used has the greatest influence on sustainability of FJEs.