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Air Force Tests Conditions-Based Maintenance Approach on Aging Aircraft

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The U.S. Air Force has started employing data analytics to predict problems in aircraft as part of a broader effort to implement a new maintenance approach for the service’s aviation fleet, Defense News reported Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, said in a Sept. 18 interview that the Air Force has applied 100 algorithms on the B-1B Lancer bomber and C-5 Super Galaxy cargo plane to determine which parts need to be repaired before they begin showing vulnerabilities.

The effort follows the Air Force Materiel Command’s decision to leverage a conditions-based maintenance model to address increasing issues with aircraft mishaps.

The Air Force selected the B-1B and C-5 planes to test the new maintenance approach because they have older and smaller inventories, as well as various technical problems.

McMurry reported that the new sustainment model has started delivering benefits to the maintainers of the two aircraft, such as reducing troubleshooting operations and costs.

He added that the service seeks to use other aircraft fleets to further test the conditions-based maintenance model during fall.

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