The RAAF C27J Sustainment Under Scrutiny

In a heavily redacted copy of the Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s (CASG’s) Quarterly Performance Report from last September, released to the public in February, details about the plans to mitigate the risk of cost escalation for sustainment of ten C27J transport aircrafts to take shape under project CAF34.

The report noted that the issue of C-27J sustainment remained in a cost-exploration phase, with actual short-term expenditure “not fully indicative of longer-term sustainment costs, which are expected to stabilise as the capability matures and [there is] completion of contractor reform activities”.

Strategies already adopted by the CASG have included developing a C-27J Enterprise Maturity Plan in conjunction with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Northrop Grumman, as well as the establishment of an Integrated Support Cell to introduce maintenance-planning disciplines and Bill of Materials for deeper-level servicings.

A Defence spokesperson told Jane’s that, “The Integrated Support Cell has facilitated improved awareness and responsiveness across the multiple organisations and disciplines, providing the planning, spares and engineering to support 35 Squadron maintenance activities. This cell, in conjunction with existing contractor reform activities, forms a number of initiatives currently in work to improve supply chain and engineering responsiveness.”

Other proposed strategies for the medium term from September included “the consolidation of maintenance-planning disciplines and lead ordering of spares ahead of induction, the receipt of residual spares and supply chain improvement initiatives to significantly remediate supply-related issues, and end-to-end process improvements to supply and engineering performance.”

Beyond the 12-month period, the CASG is aiming to establish an enterprise single management framework, the potential establishment of additional in-country repair venues, the creation of a manageable engineering demand and reduced engineering backlog, and enabling the RAAF’s 35 Squadron to meet the maintenance demand through an optimised Aircraft Maintenance Program.

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