WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 19, 2010) -- The U.S. Army's AH-64 Apache attack helicopter program has been named recipient of a Department of Defense-level award for performance-based logistics.

The program won the 2010 Secretary of Defense Performance-Based Logistics Award, "sub-system level." The honor recognizes the program's achievements in supply chain management and materiel availability.

"The Apache PBL program takes a proactive support approach which uses modeling, forecasting and planning tools to position the right components, with the right quantities, in the right place, at the right time," said Col. Shane Openshaw, project manager for Apache helicopters.

Overall, materiel availability and readiness improved to 92 percent -- compared to an 85-percent requirement, Openshaw said.

"The Apache PBL program employs a broad-based system engineering approach to address field issues, reliability, maintainability, availability, operational, and safety concerns," he said. "The program capitalizes on the knowledge and shared intellect from the warfighter, the Apache team, Boeing and Boeing's suppliers."

Through a number of efforts, the materiel response time has decreased from days to hours, Openshaw said.

He said increase in the supply-chain velocity has allowed the Apache operations tempo to surge 19.3 percent, without any additional investment in repairable components.

In addition, he said the Apache obsolescence working group achieved an $18-million cost avoidance. The difference in cost between component redesign and other (lower cost) mitigation strategies is what drove the $18 million in cost avoidance, Openshaw said.

"The OWG is a strong, forward-thinking partnership between the program manager, Apache and the Boeing Company," he said.

Also, the Apache PBL program has implemented short-term, intermediate-term and long-term initiatives to address issues with the helicopter's generator resulting from environmental factors. These consisted of:

-- A joint USG/Boeing/Honeywell field team that was deployed to theater locations to perform preventative maintenance on high-time generators to address an immediate need. Approximately 140 generators were subject to this endeavor.

-- A preventative maintenance program to return other high-time generators to the original equipment Manufacturer.

-- Generator durability improvements that are currently in design for incorporation into new build generators and will be incorporated during depot visits.

(Kris Osborn writes for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.)