Defence is the best protection

Proactive obsolescence management is the most affordable way to protect legacy military platforms, thereby ensuring they are always ready for action.

During war time, the situation called for readiness at any cost. This was sustained by high budgets, concentrated operational tempos, agile modernization programs and quick turn reset, supported by a stable and focused industrial base. Post war time, smaller budgets driven by sequestration require the right readiness and the right cost. Today’s environment features declining operational tempos over more dispersed geography, with more calculated reset and a refocused industrial base, which is moving offshore.

Supporting aging systems

To drive this transition, the Department of Defense (DoD) has had to focus on supporting its legacy platforms and aging systems. These systems are prone to obsolescence because they outlive the current industry’s rapid technology turn. DoD modernization programs have also borne the brunt of budget reduction, brought about by sequestration. Industry, which historically supported these programs, has therefore shifted its focus to other market segments, or to overseas markets. This leaves the defense markets subject to an ever growing shortage of mission critical material.

Crestwood Technology Group (CTG) has recognized this problem and developed what it describes as sustainable, cost effective solutions in response. The company believes that reactive approaches to sustainability are antiquated and can lead to huge cost overruns and decreased readiness. Piece part obsolescence related redesigns are being made without the results of comprehensive logistics and engineering analysis. CTG therefore offers a variety of proactive management tools in the areas of diminishing manufacturing sources (DMS), long lead time and technology changes. This approach is said to stop sustainment and operating cost growth by reducing costs and implementing life-cycle cost reduction initiatives.

 Sourcing obsolete parts

With a firm focus on proactive obsolescence management, CTG claims its ability to source obsolete material has successfully affected the short and long term sustainment and affordability of many legacy platforms. The company has a dedicated team of experts on sustainability assessments and real-time market analysis, providing compliant sources and availability to challenging material requirements. Its aim is to avoid costs, mitigate risk and continue support for a program or platform.

Proactive obsolescence management includes various processes that when combined, can deliver sustainable production and repair or operational readiness. The goal is to provide the right readiness and right cost (RRRC), also described as cost wise readiness.

This involves a two-step process. Firstly conduct a bill of material (BOM) analysis determining the life cycle status of each part, be it active, aging, or obsolete. Secondly, develop a course of action (COA) based on this data.

Developing a COA should take into account the current inventory position, arrangements for allocated stock, procurements in process, and analysis of alternatives. It could also encompass market condition analysis, end of life status, cost, volume and procurement lead time, as well as sustainment analysis, supply side analysis and demand planning analysis.

 Sustaining readiness

Investing in proactive obsolescence management ensures components are replaced at the lowest system level, reducing unnecessary and costly redesigns. It may also reduce the possibility of avoidable redesigns, which cannot be sustained financially on most programs. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce overages in material procurement and associated costs and most importantly, to create affordable sustainment and readiness of the most necessary military platforms.