The key to combat readiness? Availability of military equipment
Coalition military planners gathered around a top-secret video display showing a vast insurgent camp with headquarter buildings and guerrilla training grounds.
They were putting the final touches on a detailed plan for a combined land, sea and air assault to neutralize the extremely important target.
The key question now was matching the force required with the necessary resource, both human and military.
Were enough ground troops, vehicles and logistical support available and combat-ready?
What air capability was available and from what sources?
Did off-shore naval forces have the equipment ready to fire?
The answers were essential to assessing the chances for mission success.
The planners had in hand a critical success factor—the Fleet management tool from Thales and based on predictive maintenance which is build from the collection of data on equipment status, stored in a data lake and processed by AI algorithms to forecast and avoid any failures. This is a key to help forces select the right plane for the selected mission, for example.
Predictive maintenance: Prevention before failure
Predictive maintenance contributes to the availability of equipment because, on the basis of data analytics coming from the equipment and benches coupled to Thales engineering expertise, it can detect the need for maintenance service before failure. This is a key success factor in contributing to missions success.
“Knowing what equipment is available allows you to make the right match for the mission while reducing logistics support costs”
Chris Borrill, VP Services Leader for Land and Air Systems at Thales.
Predictive maintenance also allows for matching equipment with manpower needs. “Knowing what equipment is available allows you to make the right match for the mission,” says Chris Borrill, VP Services Leader for Land and Air Systems at Thales. “Logistical support costs can be lowered. That is a big saving when you know that for every officer deployed, you need five in training and rotation. And it minimizes the tools and parts that are needed for equipment for missions”
He also points to another big cost saving from predictive maintenance, “By increasing availability of equipment, its effective cost is lowered. That’s a huge benefit when you add up the hourly cost of an aircraft that is on the ground”.
Florence Gourgeon, VP Support and Customer Service for Network Infrastructure Systems at Thales, describes the three essential functions that the company brings together in its predictive maintenance tools.
“First, data must be automatically collected anywhere and anytime.
Then, the information must be transmitted through secured connectivity and securely stored.
Third, once enough information is collected, on the basis of experience with the equipment, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence can analyse and create the models to predict maintenance needed for sustained performance.”
Florence Gourgeon, VP Support and Customer Service for Network Infrastructure Systems at Thales
Creating new partnerships for long-term performance
The ability to review and maintain equipment alongside the armed forces is strenghtening the partnership with forces because it brings efficient and cost-effective solution to fulfil their operational goals.
As Florence Parly, France’s government Minister for the Armed Forces, declared:
“A plane must fly”
Florence Parly, France’s government Minister for the Armed Forces
The Thales offer of predictive maintenance is growing across fleet management as well as in specific equipment.
Thales’ Smartfleet is a smart maintenance and fleet management solution that automatically collects data on connected equipment such as Thales’ Sophie Ultima thermal imager, used by troops for top situational awareness in collaborative combat. Smartfleet then rates the equipment for its health status.
Smartfleet’s predictive maintenance improves combat readiness by anticipating failures and calling out maintenance needs. So, it can increase fleet potential from 78% to 89%. And by contributing to adapt support capacity to operational needs, it maximizes availability at best cost.
Leveraging Thales’ technological leadership
Another breakthrough example among others of Thales’s leadership in predictive maintenance is Talios, the first reconnaissance and targeting jet fighter pod with AI inside that gives the pilot unprecedented accuracy through 3D imagery laid over video images. Talios, homologated by France for its Rafale fighters, now features embedded predictive maintenance that aims to accurately predict potential failure eighty per cent of the time.
Behind Thales’ innovation in predictive maintenance for defence is its expertise and experience in all of the required technologies.
There are two reasons for Thales’ position in this growing field. First, we are leveraging our company-wide expertise in AI, Connectivity, Cybersecurity and Big Data across all of the customer service sectors. Second, we have acquired solid experience in both military equipment as well as in field operations, and, thanks to the access to the data, we continue to work on tomorrow’s solutions through innovation to offer data-added value services to our customers. We are very proud to say, because with over a century of close partnership with the armed forces, they know they can rely on us to gain and maintain decision-making and operational superiority.