Readiness issues are a constant headache for military forces. Commanders must know exactly what assets are available when planning critical missions and an inaccurate or partially complete picture is simply not good enough.
Military asset procurement, sustainment and support has been on an evolutionary path for some years. Gone are the days of the traditional model of the military purchasing a complex asset from an original equipment manufacturer, OEM, and then taking on the responsibility of keeping that asset operational during its lifecycle.
The military has taken numerous steps up the transformational staircase since this scenario. The first stage of contractor assistance was termed as buying spares and repairs from the OEM. Following that, the risk and availability associated with supporting an asset throughout its military lifecycle has increasingly involved industry assistance. The generally accepted model for procuring and supporting military equipment is now on a performance-based logistics, PBL, basis.
PBL strategies work well when applied to particular assets, or components of assets such as engines and other complex parts. But these service-based agreements can be taken to another level, what we at IFS deem Total Asset Readiness, when it comes to force-wide asset mobilisation.
This next evolution is geared to putting in place a clear and consistent framework across a military fighting force. Disparate reporting mechanisms and software systems can be consolidated with an all-encompassing solution to track asset readiness, giving commanders a clear real-time view of the assets at their disposal, in the context of the mission they need to complete. Here are five key areas which must be focused on in order to achieve Total Asset Readiness.
According to Deloitte, the rise of Industry 4.0 technologies will have a hugely positive effect on asset readiness, bringing a new approach to availability based on real-world data. The US Navy has adopted a framework to leverage technology such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, predictive analytics, and blockchain. Meanwhile the US Air Force has prioritised use of predictive analytics to address a slide in readiness across its fleet of 5,400 aircraft.
IoT-enabled sensors on individual components provide a huge data set on the exact status of a given asset wherever it is a subsystem such as an aircraft engine can provide terabytes of data in a single flight. By analysing this data stream with AI, machine learning functionality in enterprise software, real steps can be taken to make the maintenance of connected assets more predictive than ever before.
But these data-producing assets will often be deployed in a disconnected setting, in a hostile environment without forward infrastructure and often with an essential mandate to keep operational security. In this case, software infrastructure must also be configured to support such disconnected operations that means aggregating, consolidating and storing data and technical records to be sent once connectivity is re-established.
- Disparate reporting mechanisms and software systems can be consolidated with an all-encompassing solution to track asset readiness.
- The US Navy has adopted a framework to leverage AI, IoT, predictive analytics, and blockchain.
- IoT-enabled sensors on individual components provide a huge data set on the exact status of a given asset.
- Software infrastructure must be configured to support disconnected operations.
Matt Medley of IFS highlights the five must-haves to transform different streams of information into one infrastructure platform to achieve Total Asset Readiness.