Aerospace Systems Division

Aerospace Systems Division provides acquisition and through life support to 13 fixed wing aircraft types, ranging from F/A-18 Hornet, Hawks and F-111's, to C-130H/J Hercules and AP-3C Orions and related aircraft support systems.

In cooperation with the Air Force, the Division has embarked on an initiative to develop a cost conscious capability culture aimed at reducing aircraft support costs through continuous improvement and cost benchmarking.

Achievements

Challenges

F-111

Fourteen F-111G variant aircraft, acquired in 1993 to replace F-111C attrition losses and to extend the life of the F/RF-111C fleet, were retired with the last flight occurring on 3 September 2007. F-111 wing fatigue testing activities were completed assuring maximum F-111 wing sets and wing life to the end of 2010. Negotiations were undertaken to align contracts for logistics and deeper maintenance support with the recently confirmed F-111 planned withdrawal date of December 2010.

P-3C/AP-3C Orion

Management of the ageing aircraft issues with the AP-3C Orion continues with the introduction of a safety by inspection fatigue management regime to replace the previous safe-life policy for the aircraft. Under the previous regime, the aircraft could continue flying until a predetermined fatigue point was reached. At this point the aircraft either needed to be retired or transitioned to a new fatigue management philosophy. The safety by inspection regime assures the continued safety of the airframe structure through a series of modifications and recurring inspections that were not required under the safe life policy.

The development of a new Mission System Support Contract along with the established Platform System Support Contract and the expanded Avionics Workshop contract is another key element of the enhanced delivery model to maintain the capability to its planned withdrawal date and to support key upgrades to address both obsolescence and capability requirements.

Future sustainment strategies for the AP-3C are currently being investigated under Project AIR 7000 including manned and unmanned maritime patrol and response capabilities.

F/A-18 Hornet

Photo of F/A-18 HornetDuring 2007-08, an on-line Fatigue Management tool (Aircraft Structural Life Monitoring Program) was implemented to assist F/A-18 aircrew to manage aircraft structural fatigue. In addition, a number of items of equipment from the Hornet Upgrade Project Phase 2.2 were transitioned into sustainment including: Advanced Memory Unit; Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System; Multi Display Group Unit; and Joint Mission Planning System.

Managing aircraft structural issues and system supportability and obsolescence issues for the ageing F/A-18 Hornet aircraft has been a challenge for 2007-08, along with negotiating and implementing long-term logistics support contracts for the maintenance and modification of the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. Hornet Upgrades and structural refurbishment programs are partly addressing aircraft ageing and obsolescence issues. Further planning is underway to address issues on wings, undercarriages and deeper maintenance. Support contracts for modifications and maintenance are expected to be in place by December 2008.

Lead-in Fighter (LIF) Hawk 127

The fatigue monitoring system for the Hawk aircraft is now functional and accredited.

In January 2007 BAE Systems Australia commenced the major servicing schedule.

The LIF Capability Assurance Program AIR 5438 has been established to consider future Hawk requirements. The program is currently scheduled for first pass approval in November 2009.

C-130J-30 Weapons System

The 12 C-130J aircraft and C-130J full flight simulator are supported through a mix of short-term spares supply, component repair support, aircraft deeper maintenance, and engineering services contracts. The DMO is currently evaluating tenders to establish a performance-based C-130J through-life support contract to replace the existing contracts from 2009-10. Purchase of additional spares and improvement of repair pipelines to enhance demand satisfaction performance will continue throughout 2008-09. Support to operations to assure availability of spares over extended supply lines to deployed aircraft, and remediation of wear and tear caused by the harsh operating environment experienced by deployed aircraft, will continue. Support for the Enhanced Land Force program will commence, ramping up to the mature requirement by 2009-10. The DMO is providing project management and engineering support to the C-130J role expansion, obsolescence management and block upgrade programs.

C-17 Globemaster III Heavy Airlift Aircraft Weapons System

Sustainment responsibility for the C-17A has transferred from the acquisition Project Office to the Heavy Air Lift Systems Program Office with the transfer of C-17 Logistics Management Unit staff in early 2008. Lay-in of spares and support equipment and development of infrastructure is continuing.