June 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 2  
Main Feature

Mission possible


As diverse as Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' Support Systems is, its aim is razor-sharp: Warfighter readiness. Support Systems prepares military customers for their missions today and in the future, providing the men and women in uniform with the best support for their equipment and systems.

Support Systems, one of IDS' three business centers, delivers cost-effective mission readiness to the warfighter while preparing the customer for the network-centric battle space of the future. The customer relationship doesn't end once an aircraft is delivered or customers task themselves with managing older fleets: Aircraft require maintenance, repairs, upgrades and testing to ensure readiness and to extend their life span. To manage this complex and long-term task, Boeing offers aerospace and military customers in the United States and abroad the full spectrum of cost-effective services needed for mission readiness and aircraft sustainment.

"Our customers need affordable readiness to support combat and humanitarian operations," said Pat Finneran, IDS Support Systems president. "Support Systems has proven processes and trained, experienced and dedicated people who are providing the highest levels of readiness today, and we are working to improve for the future."

IDS Support Systems has five core businesses. The organization's services range from scheduled maintenance, emergency repairs and structural upgrades, to performance-based logistics, supply chain management, and air crew and maintenance training.

"Our strategy is to leverage the power of Boeing and its expertise to improve processes, systems and capabilities and to advance network-centric operations," said Finneran. "Our focused strategies will further expand our business and create even greater value—cost-wise readiness—for our customers."

Based in St. Louis, IDS Support Systems has major operations in nine U.S. Boeing locations as well as in Australia and the United Kingdom. The recent IDS reorganization, Finneran said, allowed Support Systems to align around its core competencies and strategies, remain close to the customer and better leverage business opportunities for future growth.

Support Systems features 16,000 Boeing people at 170 locations. About 2,500 people are permanently based outside the United States; 40 percent are colocated with customers, with more than 60 people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's important for Boeing to remain close to the customer," said Mike Harris, vice president and program manager of the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program. "The more we know and understand their needs and how they operate, the better we can develop a more effective and safer airplane."

Mission possibleUnder the C-130 AMP contract, Boeing will upgrade more than 400 U.S. Air Force C-130 transport aircraft to common avionics. The Air Force fleet of Lockheed Martin–built aircraft is around 20 to 30 years old, with avionics that vary among aircraft. "We're designing and developing a cockpit to make the pilot's and copilot's lives safer with more visibility and more head-up capabilities," Harris said. He added that the avionics upgrade will significantly drive down the customer's maintenance and crew training costs while ensuring higher performance reliability and extending the fleet's life span.

Boeing also is upgrading the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker to improve the aircraft's capabilities and is maintaining other airplanes, such as the E-4B command post.

Transition to performance-based logistics

As technology rapidly evolves and defense budgets tighten, customers' needs are shifting from piecemeal logistical support to complete lifecycle services. With a business model called Performance-Based Logistics, Support Systems offers the full array of integrated support and services for warfighter readiness. Key programs include F/A-18E/F Integrated Readiness Support Teaming, the C-17 Globemaster Sustainment Partnership, and the U.K. CH-47 Through Life Customer Support contract to provide support to the United Kingdom's fleet of 40 CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

As the aerospace industry moves to more integrated platforms, Advanced Logistics Support Systems has an eye on technologies and architectures that will improve current and future support systems and deliver network-centric logistics for greater warfighter readiness.

"We're transitioning the technologies, processes and tools that are being developed in Phantom Works and IDS Advanced Systems to better perform within our core business offerings and expand into nontraditional markets," said Rick Martin, IDS Advanced Logistics Support Systems director. "This will take us to the next level of network-enabled capabilities in logistics."

Growth story

Since it was formed in 1997, Support Systems has grown into a large organization that drives revenue and business growth. In 2005, IDS Support Systems reported more than $5.3 billion in revenues, representing 10 percent of Boeing's total revenues.

"Support Systems' growth has validated the concept of bringing together all the capabilities needed for post-production support," said Mark Bass, Support Systems vice president of business development. Bass stressed that Support Systems' strategies strongly position Boeing to capture more global markets. "We have rigorous strategies to protect and expand our core business, move into serving customers with non-Boeing platforms—such as the C-130 AMP—and move into network-centric operations," he said.

Mission possibleOne segment instrumental to business growth is International Support Systems. Boeing actively works to expand its footprint with U.S. allies to further develop and grow its support services as well as bring Boeing closer to customers. To do this, Boeing makes strategic investments and forms partnerships or joint ventures with local and international aerospace companies.

"Our globalization efforts are principally joint ventures," said Torbjorn Sjogren, International Support Systems vice president. "We target regions with a Boeing presence, a geopolitical and budgetary climate that makes business sense and where we believe we can bring real value to the table for our partners."

Investing in local in-country companies, explained Sjogren, is a value-added advantage for Boeing, enabling it to access technologies that improve capabilities and readiness and respond more quickly to customers' needs. "We create far greater customer confidence by saving costs, having a local work force and having a site where they can see and touch the product," Sjogren said.

Boeing's greatest competitive advantage, however, is its people. Support Systems' Field Services members work around the globe, around the clock—never wavering from their commitment to warfighter readiness or their customers. These product support services provide on-site personnel support at customer locations and tools to improve information flow and decision making.

"We're in a competitive market, but we're very well positioned in this market with solid strategies to further grow our business," Finneran said. "Above all, we have a great team of Boeing people. Their selfless dedication to the customer is amazing, and they are why we are a success."


At the core

Here's a look at the five core businesses of Integrated Defense Systems' Support Systems unit.

Maintenance, Modifications and Upgrades. Provides a range of services from scheduled maintenance of military aircraft to structural and avionics modifications. Also provides component and structural upgrades, depot maintenance and modification engineering.

Integrated Logistics. Features fully integrated performance-based logistics services that address the complete lifecycle of each aircraft and system. Provides post-delivery military-aircraft sustainment, such as engineering, supply-chain services and technical data. Also manages Boeing Service Company, which supports satellite, launch and range operations.

Training Systems and Services. Provides the full range of aircrew and maintenance training solutions, including courseware, instructors, training devices, logistics support and training centers. IDS Support Systems is one of the leading military aviation training companies.

Advanced Logistics Support Systems. Develops advanced capabilities and business models to expand into nontraditional logistics and sustainment markets, including network-enabled solutions.

International Support Systems. Strategically invests in and partners with aerospace companies in countries where Boeing can build and grow its business. Examples:

Australia: Boeing Australia Limited is a wholly owned Boeing subsidiary that supports high-technology aerospace modifications and communications systems for defense customers.

Saudi Arabia: Boeing partners with Alsalam Aircraft Co. Alsalam is the national aerospace company of Saudi Arabia, providing military and commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul for Saudi military and regional airplanes. Other partners in Alsalam include Saudi Arabian Airlines, Gulf Investment Corp., Saudi Advanced Industries Co. and the National Industrialization Co.

United Kingdom: Boeing has a 50-50 joint venture with Aviation Training International Limited, which provides facilities to train operators and maintainers of the British Army's fleet of Apache attack helicopters.

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