by Tina Olivero

    Sikorsky Aims to Control Costs

    One of the biggest challenges for fleet operators is to keep costs under ­control. While they may have no power over the price of materials like oil, they try to forecast and plan their operational expenses. Delays and unanticipated expenditures due to parts availability and unplanned maintenance ­issues can pose ­problems. To counter these unexpected expenses, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as Sikorsky, are offering innovative programs to ensure operators have the parts they need when they need them and at no extra cost. The ­structure of these offerings gives operators a very strong idea of their planned costs and the OEM is credited for enhancing high ­readiness rates.

    We offer ­customized ­programs for our ­commercial and ­military ­customers,” says Steve ­Bohlman, director of Global Services and ­Support at ­Sikorsky ­Aerospace Services (SAS), the ­after­market division of ­Sikorsky ­Aircraft. “Popular with our commercial ­customers are the ­Total ­Assurance Program (TAP), the Power ­Assurance Program (PAP), and the ­Performance Based ­Logistics (PBL) ­programs for our military operators. In fact, we ­manage one of the Navy’s most ­successful PBL ­programs—ensuring ­optimal ­performance and mission readiness for the Navy’s H-60 fleet.” Bohlman goes on to say, “­Regardless of mission requirements, ­Sikorsky offers ­experience and expertise in fleet ­support that is tailored to each customer’s specific needs. International militaries can choose between programs such as TAP and PBL or a hybrid of the two. These programs incentivize the OEM to achieve higher parts availability; all have proven very popular and, most important, demonstrated results.”

    The TAP and PAP maintenance assurance programs have been specifically developed in response to customers’ requirements to ­operate the fleet within a fixed, known ­budget, reducing the risks of ­extraordinary unplanned costs. Sikorsky’s TAP program covers up to 98 percent of the cost of parts ­replacement including airframe, drive train, ­gearboxes, ­avionics, and consumable parts. The ­program also covers component ­overhaul and ­repair, as well as corrective and ­preventive ­maintenance. A key enabler for TAP ­program performance is the ­analytics work ­performed at Sikorsky’s Fleet ­Management ­Operations Center (FMOC). Using fleet-wide ­operational and maintenance data, the FMOC ­applies ­proprietary algorithms, ­toolsets, and ­technologies to build custom fleet profiles—providing accurate forecasting of component demand and operational costs.

    Contributing to improved aircraft ­performance as well as enhanced resale value, the TAP ­program provides customers with OEM ­approved parts manufactured to the ­latest drawings—backed by Sikorsky’s stringent quality system and worldwide ­distribution ­network. The program includes manual ­revision services, supply of parts required to comply with mandatory service ­bulletins, and access to a parts management tool—Rotorlink. Optional services include: (1) Sikorsky’s HELOTRAC 2X™—a ­maintenance ­management program which records, ­manages, and reports essential information for enhanced fleet ­management operations; (2) transportation costs for both inbound and outbound parts shipment; and (3) spare parts consignment—allowing customers to store parts at their own facilities.

    Similar to TAP, the PAP is geared toward ­operators who wish to take advantage of the assurance program, but choose to limit the coverage to the major drive train ­components. PAP covers the repair overhaul of main, intermediate, and tail gear boxes. With a 90 percent enrollment rate among S-76® operators, PAP is now being developed for S-92® customers.

    The TAP and PAP programs are uniquely ­configured to meet the needs of worldwide commercial and military operators of S-76, S-92, and S-70 helicopter platforms. Sikorsky works one-on-one with each customer before the aircraft sale and performs a complete analysis of fleet and mission profiles. Factors such as aircraft location, mission, utilization, and contract period have an important role in determining the price-per-flight hour rate of TAP and PAP. By using a rigorous method of calculating the hourly rate and working ­closely with each operator to define their unique needs and requirements, SAS helps each customer make the best decision on ­securing the optimal support and service solution.

    More than 100 S-76 operators have ­chosen one of Sikorsky’s assurance programs. In ­missions ranging from VIP to offshore oil, ­airline transport to EMS, TAP and PAP ­customers benefit from ease of budgeting, including planning and forecasting. Also, customers benefit from improved operations, including capability of detailed planning of overhauls and guaranteed parts availability in the shortest time.

    In fact, existing TAP and PAP customers ­recommend Sikorsky assurance programs to other operators. Approximately 98 percent of S-92 fleet flying hours are enrolled in TAP. A one-stop solution, the S-92 TAP includes the cost per hour engine support program from General Electric. This translates into cost ­savings for customers who only need to contract with SAS instead of two different manufacturers. Operators have the advantage of the state-of-the-art technology available on the aircraft, such as the Health and Usage Monitoring system, applying the best in class fleet management processes and leveraging the OEM experience—Sikorsky is redefining support.

    The programs have proven so popular that one of the largest operators of the S-92 ­helicopter for offshore oil, The Bristow Group, recently announced the 10-year renewal of its current standing TAP contract for its fleet of S-92 helicopters. The deal is valued at $840 million.

    Concludes Sikorsky’s Bohlman: “Both TAP and PAP, in conjunction with our Fleet ­Management Operations Center ­technology, have ­demonstrated the capability of ­simplifying the management of material l­ogistics by ­avoiding uncertainty associated with ­unpredicted and unbudgeted material costs. Expect these ­programs to gain greater traction in the ­coming years.”

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