Modeling a Maintenance Free Operating Period Strategy for Future Vertical Lift

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Center for Innovation and Engineering, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Operations Research Center

Publication Date


Publication Title

Vertical Flight Society 76th Annual Forum Proceedings

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The U.S. Department of Defense has begun the acquisition of the next generation of military rotorcraft, named Future Vertical Lift (FVL), to replace its aging fleet. U.S. Army Futures Command intends to sustain FVL under a new strategy of maintenance free operating periods (MFOP). This study developed a discrete event simulation to evaluate MFOP success given component reliabilities, desired MFOP duration, and operational tempo of a battalion with thirty aircraft. The simulation compared notional FVL aircraft with improved reliability to today’s fleet. Results indicated that inherent reliability alone was insufficient to achieve MFOP goals and that prognostics and diagnostics with robust information management are necessary. Sensitivity studies found the recovery effort after an MFOP was linked to the MFOP duration. Recovery downtime was tied to both the duration and operational tempo. Availability and cost improved with moderate gains in MFOP duration by eliminating unnecessary preventive maintenance but over-extending the MFOP sacrificed aircraft dependability for marginally greater availability and savings.

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