A simulation based analysis of the B-1B's AN/ALQ-161 maintenance process

Raymond R. Hill, Daniel Mattioda, Ricardo Garza
2011 Proceedings of the 2011 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC)  
The Air Force is investigating the use of three levels of aircraft maintenance. This work examines the effect of maintenance resource collaboration and a centralized repair facility on a critical line replacement unit for a major Air Force weapon system. Maintenance data is collected, summarized into probability distributions and used in a discrete event simulation model to examine the impact of changes to the Air Force hierarchical maintenance structure. INTRODUCTION A remnant of the Cold War
more » ... nt of the Cold War era, today's U.S. Air Force (USAF) bomber structure consists of three platforms, the B-1, B-2 and B-52, each filling specific mission niches. Significant resources go into ensuring the mission readiness of each of these weapon systems. The B-1 Bomber is the focus of this study, in particular its avionics repair process. Through use of simulation and modeling, the study shows how to predict the effects of using different maintenance organizational structures for repair processes to the AN/ALQ-161. The effectiveness of repair operations is measured by work in process (WIP) time and machine utilization. Of immediate concern is examining the effects of resource collaborations among units and determining if this has an immediate impact on the availability of the B-1 Bomber weapon system. The B-1 has an integrated avionics system totaling over 424 installed line-replaceable-units (LRUs) of which there are approximately 212 repairable LRUs. Tentatively, 109 LRUs have been designated for base-level repair on B-1 automatic test equipment (ATE) (Roark 1983),whereas, other repairable LRUs are selected for base-level repair on other support equipment or for depot-level repair. The AN/ALQ-161 ECM, which is the specific focus of this research, consists of roughly 33 LRUs and over 900 singlereplaceable-units (SRUs). The overall USAF maintenance model for aircraft repair involves a hierarchical system of main and sub-components. Main components, the LRUs, are removed from aircraft as required. This rapid removal allows the technician to quickly troubleshoot and isolate any problem with the unit. Furthermore, this LRU modularity permits the technician to replace the LRU immediately should the repair take longer than anticipated. Each LRU is made up of subcomponents called single-replaceable-units (SRUs). These SRUs are replaced as needed to repair the LRU. Effective and efficient maintenance requires a balance between inventory on-hand and the cost of having that inventory. Currently, the average organic (baselevel) LRU repair capability of the AN/ALQ-161 is approximately 80%, which means the remaining 20% of LRU repair must be repaired through other resources (either sent to a depot facility or to a contractor). Due to the AF's hierarchical maintenance system architecture, LRU repair capability is only as good as the availability of SRUs on-hand. For this study, we assume sufficient inventories of SRUs to facilitate LRU repair and isolate our investigation on LRUs for the AN/ALQ-161. 2552 978-1-4577-2109-0/11/$26.00
doi:10.1109/wsc.2011.6147963 dblp:conf/wsc/HillMG11 fatcat:k2n7pet3xbbmbiftw62dhm5ijy