Unmanned Aircraft Systems Reduction of Ownership Cost

Tuesday August 23, 2011

What is it?

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Reduction of Ownership Cost (U-ROC) is a new cost savings focus area initiated by the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office (PO). The U-ROC effort consists of multiple initiatives focusing on better buying power and horizontal integration amongst the varying UAS products. U-ROC is represented functionally with members from each of the UAS PO products and led by division level personnel.

The mission of the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office (PO) is to provide affordable, through excellence in program management to our nation and its allies, world class unmanned aircraft systems and unmanned control systems-interoperable with Army, joint and coalition partners.

What has the Army done?

One of the initiatives under U-ROC is UAS Maintenance (UAS-M). This common maintenance application serves as a Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) tool that will provide a means to download flight data from an aircraft, provide immediate feedback and health status of the air vehicle to the user, and serve as a conduit to send and receive data from the UAS Data Warehouse (DW). Through data analysis, prognostics, and Health and Usage Monitoring Systems, the Shadow® team has demonstrated some early success in driving toward a CBM solution. To date, 17 Shadow® aircraft have avoided mishaps due to correctly predicted events of impending propulsion failure.

What does the Army have planned for the future?

So far, Shadow® mishap avoidance equates to an approximate cost savings of $336K per incident, factoring in repair and/or replacement costs per aircraft. U-ROC has the potential to provide a cost and aircraft saving model that will result in huge cost avoidances in the future. The tools being developed today will be the basis for dramatically lower cost and higher reliability systems in the future. UAS-M tool will continue to develop new prognostics and refine existing algorithms, both on the fly in the field and via long term trending analysis.

Why is this important to the Army?

At a moment in time when the defense budget continues to shrink, the UAS PO responds with cost savings initiatives while continuing to make inroads in UAS technology and outpace increasing optempo demands. Unmanned aircraft technology continues to be a growth industry, that brings with it unique maintenance, technological and logistical challenges.

Resources:

Project Manager's Office: Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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