Boeing Frontiers
November 2003
Volume 02, Issue 07
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Cover Story
Going the Distance

IDS' Aerospace Support meets the needs of its customers throughout the life cycle of aircraft and weapon systems


Going the Distance Readiness, affordability and increased operations tempo: More and more, these are the key challenges military services around the world face.

Tight budgets mean existing aerospace platforms and systems must remain in service much longer than originally expected. The B-52 Stratofortress, for example, entered the U.S. Air Force inventory in 1954 and most recently was called on in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The U.S. Air Force expects to still be flying the Boeing-built B-52 in 2040.

Aging fleets and high operations tempo come with a price, however. Maintenance costs tend to rise, fleet availability decreases and obtaining out-of-production spare parts becomes expensive and difficult. And platforms need upgrades to keep them relevant in today's integrated battlespace.

That's where the Aerospace Support business unit of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems comes in. With a broad-based portfolio of services that includes training and support systems, logistics engineering and support; and performance-enhancing upgrade, modification and maintenance programs, Aerospace Support is unique in the market. It provides an integrated organization structured to support an aircraft or a weapon system through its entire life cycle.

The 13,000 people of Aerospace Support focus on reducing the costs and boosting the effectiveness of an aircraft or weapon system through an approach called Life Cycle Customer Support. Innovative, tailored LCCS packages aim to reduce costs and boost effectiveness over the entire life cycle of an aircraft or weapon system. These packages not only put to work Boeing's detailed knowledge of its customers and markets—which is one of the company's core competencies—they helped Aerospace Support generate more than $3 billion in revenue in 2002.

"As the cost and sophistication of modern military platforms increases and defense budgets are continually under pressure, customers are looking for ways to get more from their investments while increasing the effectiveness of the systems they already have," said David Spong, president of Aerospace Support. "They want system support and improved effectiveness at the most affordable cost. It's our job to provide those world-class sustainment solutions to our aerospace support customers."

Take an aircraft's life cycle. In general, the design, development and production of a military aircraft system make up only about 30 percent of a government's investment in total ownership cost. The remaining 70 percent is taken by sustainment and support—from program planning and data management through training, technical manuals, spare parts and support equipment to maintenance, modifications, upgrades and other aging-aircraft initiatives.

How may we help you?
Here's a look at services the Aerospace Support business unit of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems provides.

Life Cycle Customer Support: Boeing IDS is the only major airframe original equipment manufacturer with an integrated organization (Aerospace Support) structured to provide total life cycle customer support. Major programs include C-17 Flexible Sustainment, C-32 and C-40 Contractor Logistics Support, V-22 Life Cycle Customer Support and 767 Tanker Integrated Fleet Support.

Maintenance and Modifications: Aerospace Support offers fast and affordable aircraft services through four maintenance and modification centers. Programs include KC-135 programmed depot maintenance, KC-10 and C-17 maintenance and modifications, and F/A-18 upgrades and modifications.

Modernization and Upgrades: Aerospace Support brings together the large-scale systems-integration expertise of Boeing to develop flexible, affordable avionics suites, system upgrades, re-engineering programs and other modernization initiatives. Major programs include the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, T-38 Avionics Upgrade Program, B-52 weapon systems and avionics upgrades, VIP aircraft modifications and support, Airborne Laser modifications, and the KC/RC-135 re-engining program.

Training Systems and Services: Aerospace Support produces aircrew and maintenance simulation devices and instructional systems. It also provides classroom and flight deck instruction, courseware development and logistics support of training devices. Programs include the innovative F-15C/E Distributed Mission Training systems, Apache Longbow aircrew and maintenance training systems and the C-17 aircrew training system.

Contractor Logistics Support and Services: This group provides a variety of personnel support services at customer sites, including maintenance and engineering support. Major programs include U.S. Air Force Special Operations C-130 integrated weapons systems support, E-4B Contractor Logistics Support, U.S. Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center support and Saudi Airborne Warning and Control System and tanker technical support.

Spares and Technical Data: This organization develops and applies innovative, efficient asset and information-management techniques that streamline delivery systems to customer needs. Major programs include F/A- 18E/F Integrated Readiness Support Teaming, the U.S. Air Force Material Command Corporate Contract (KC-135, B-1B, B-52, E-3A and F-15 spares), Virtual Prime Vendor contracts and the Global Support Network.

"That 70 percent is where Aerospace Support focuses our full continuum of support competencies and resources, along with our 13,000 skilled people worldwide," Spong said. "Bringing to bear the strengths of The Boeing Company in total, we can apply the best of commercial technologies and practices, along with unmatched military aerospace expertise, to provide quality, affordable support for an incredible range of military aircraft and other combat and aerospace systems."

LCCS represents an integrated "through-life" approach to supporting aircraft and weapon systems. It contrasts with the stand-alone, silo-based way the military has procured support products and services, and industry in turn has provided them. The goal of LCCS is simple: reduce customer total ownership costs and maximize readiness and mission effectiveness. Several Boeing-developed LCCS packages are in place and already are providing real reductions in total ownership costs for customers. Each features a close teaming arrangement between Boeing IDS and its military customers, as well as a performance-based structure that ensures best value for those customers.

"A key benefit of LCCS is single-point accountability," Spong said. "One organization has the accountability and responsibility to put in the hands of the warfighter what is needed, when it is needed, at an affordable price."

The C-17 Flexible Sustainment Program for the U.S. Air Force is the template on which Boeing is building future LCCS programs. Flexible Sustainment integrates virtually all support aspects for this U.S. Air Force airlifter and has provided above-plan readiness rates, allowed the service to avoid significant investments in new support infrastructure, and returned millions of dollars through a shared-savings clause.

Similarly, a strong U.S. Navy–Boeing team has developed the F/A-18E/F Integrated Readiness Support Teaming, which is expected to produce more than $1 billion in life cycle cost savings and cost avoidances for the Super Hornet fleet. "We see great potential in the LCCS approach for a wide variety of platforms," Spong said.

Additional LCCS programs include C-32 and C-40 contractor logistics support, V-22 LCCS and 767 Tanker integrated fleet support. The C-32 is the military version of the Boeing 757-200, and the C-40 is a modified 737-700.

"We're pursuing a number of promising programs around the globe, both for current and future programs, as well as 'legacy' post-production aircraft that are expected to be in the active inventory well into this century," Spong said. "As part of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Aerospace Support can even better leverage the power of our sustainment capabilities beyond platform-specific applications into the world of an integrated battlespace. While platforms and systems may change, our focus on bringing innovation to maximize readiness and affordability remains constant."

Take, for example, that 50-year-old B-52. Aerospace Support's Modernization and Upgrades division recently completed a study for the U.S. Air Force on re-engining the Stratofortress with commercial off-the-shelf engines to extend the life of the aircraft to 2040.

"Buying and installing new commercial off-the-shelf engines on the bomber will increase fuel efficiency by up to 29 percent, extend the range by up to 22 percent and improve loiter time over target by up to 200 percent, giving commanders a more effective, reliable weapons platform," Spong explained.

"The high reliability of these engines also means much lower engine-maintenance and support costs for the U.S. Air Force compared to the engine technology currently powering the bomber. The new engines may never have to come off the bomber for overhaul due to their superb reliability," he added. "Our analyses concluded the program could be successfully financed under a unique Energy Savings Performance Contract, which would capture operational and support savings and apply those savings to pay for the program in 25 years or less."

Congressionally authorized ESPCs have been used for the past 10 years for base facility energy improvements. Their use on a mobile weapon system represents a first-ever application that requires authorizing legislation.

"This is a prime example of how our customer-focused approach will allow one of our major customers to modernize an aging weapon system at the best value to the taxpayer," Spong said. "When you let good people sit down and analyze the best way to provide a quality solution at an affordable cost that meets the customer's needs, you end up with innovative solutions.

"Clearly, the proposed solution to B-52 re-engining is Aerospace Support business excellence at its best," Spong said.

Another significant Aerospace Support modernization and upgrade program is the development of a digital flight deck suite for the U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon trainer and the integration of the suite into more than 500 T-38 aircraft. The new avionics will help extend the T-38 service life well past the year 2020, improve reliability and make pilot transition to current and next-generation fighter and bomber aircraft much more efficient.

Going the DistanceIn addition to providing sustainment solutions, Aerospace Support supplies a full range of training systems, instructional systems, and training that enable U.S. and international customers to operate at optimal performance. Aerospace Support provides classroom and cockpit instruction, courseware development and logistics support for the C-17 aircrew training system as well as the Apache Longbow aircrew and maintenance training systems. The organization also supplies the innovative networked devices for the F-15C and F-15E Distributed Mission Training Program that supports the U.S. Air Force Distributed Mission Operations concept.

DMO is a critical enhancement to ensure U.S. military pilots are prepared to perform effectively in combat. It allows U.S. Air Force pilots in flight simulators at one location to train with pilots at other locations hundreds, even thousands, of miles away. This training concept gives the U.S. Air Force enhanced simulator training as a realistic supplement to flight training. The DMO training program eventually will include most U.S. Air Force weapon systems. Future programs also may incorporate U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps platforms and command-and-control agencies.

"The Air Force's visionary approach to Distributed Mission Operations has proven itself during recent world events," Spong said. "The training process mirrors the way U.S. warfighters fly actual combat missions and has allowed the Air Force to enhance pilot capabilities through realistic, integrated training.

"With an eye toward our vision—'People working together as the world's No. 1 provider of innovative sustainment solutions'—we have continued our journey to make Aerospace Support the best in the industry," Spong added. "That quest has required much work on our part, but good things don't come easily."

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