BAE Systems, is working to create a system that will offer round-the-clock fault diagnosis for military vehicles.
Able to detect faults before they cause damage and removing the need for unnecessary maintenance, researchers are hopeful that the final system could literally save billions of dollars each year from defence budgets.
The new system, named Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM), is being developed in partnership with Rolls-Royce, Thales, Boeing and Cranfield University in the UK, and aims to combine a series of maintenance and support ideas for military vehicles, a statement said.
IVHM monitors engines and vehicle structures via built-in sensors and will identify faults using mathematical reasoning in order to establish a diagnosis.
This is then communicated to the maintenance crew, who will take relevant action to rectify the problem.
The full system is in early development stages, but key elements of IVHM are already being tested in defence vehicles.
Fault diagnostic tools are being trailed, for instance in the Tornado fighter jet, while the Hawk, the world’s premier advanced jet trainer in service with a number of GCC countries, is using acoustic sensors to detect fatigue cracks.
IVHM will offer a number of important benefits- which include minimised maintenance, improved readiness and availability, extension of the life of the product and enhanced safety and reliability, the statement added.
It is likely to be warmly welcomed by senior military figures, as problems such as corrosion alone are estimated to cost the armed forces over a billion dollars a year to repair.
BAE Systems expects the systems to be in full use across their military vehicles on land, sea and in the air within the next 5-10 years, according to the statement.