The U.S. Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office hopes to gain airline maintenance best practices to reduce sustainment costs and improve readiness of its Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy fleet.
To do this, it formed a partnership with Delta TechOps and the Georgia Institute of Technology, which are supposed to deliver a report within six months showing the Air Force how it can modernize its maintenance and reliability processes.
The C-5 is similar in size to the Boeing 747, which Delta maintained for decades. In fact, Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta, received the first 747-400 in 1989 and the carrier flew the type until December 2017.
In addition to civil aircraft, Delta maintains military and government aircraft—including P-8A, C-32, C-40 and KC-46, during Delta’s peak summer flying season.
Part of the reason the Air Force selected the airline MRO was for its commercial derivate platform experience, as well as its success in using analytics to decrease maintenance delays.
Delta Air Lines’ maintenance-related flight cancellations have dropped considerably over the last six years. Contributing to this are process improvements, use of technology and the predictive maintenance program it built, which has a 95% success rate, says Don Mitacek, senior VP Delta TechOps.
Georgia Institute of Technology, an applied research division of Georgia Tech, will contribute computing tools that could be used to build an analytics-based maintenance program for the U.S. Air Force.
The Air Force launched its Rapid Sustainment Office in July 2018 to find ways to use technology to improve aircraft readiness, lower costs and deliver faster results.