Background. Starting in 2017, Veracity began assisting the E-2 Hawkeye Program Office (NAVAIR PMA-231) with inventory management planning for the E-2D aircraft. The E-2 Program office is in the process of transitioning from the E-2C Hawkeye to the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. In addition, the program office is actively managing capability upgrades and structural modifications to the E-2D aircraft, including aerial refueling (AR). Fleet resource providers at Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) face multiple challenges in an effort to sustain mission capable aircraft for deploying squadrons, support fleet training requirements, and transition existing fleet squadrons from E-2C to E-2D while managing a time-critical modification induction schedule. Because NAVAIR and CNAF planners face competing demands, Veracity is tasked with analyzing the planning data, developing automated planning rules, and assisting with optimizing this complex availability problem in support of key stakeholders.
Supply and Demand Imbalance. Preexisting conditions and fleet operational directives limit the availability of aircraft (the supply) to support modification installation and fleet fielding requirements (the demand):
• The E-2D procurement quantity profile was stretched over several years, with slight reductions in the number of aircraft procured per year. This resulted in reduced Backup Aircraft Inventory (BAI) beyond the planned force structure requirements.
• Force structure timelines for transitioning E-2C to E-2D remain as scheduled, despite lagging procurement quantities.
Together, these conditions pressurized the BAI, stretching the Primary Aircraft Inventory (PAI) to absorb some of the modification demand.
Groundwork for Solution. Veracity’s data scientists assist the E-2 Program Office inventory management planning team in consolidating data input formats from multiple sources to use in a forecasting model Veracity software engineers developed to predict the stability of the E-2D fleet 30+ years into the future. Since data varies widely in its quality and assumptions, cleaning and organizing it to support the ever-evolving customer-driven software model is an essential task. Veracity’s most recent support for the E-2D community has focused on inventory management, balancing modification plans with training and operational commitments across squadrons. In this constantly changing environment, we employ a high level of automation for efficiency and to minimize human input error.
Benefits of Decision Aid. Ultimately, Veracity built a software decision aid to capture major modification installation data and operational plans. Our technical experts support the PMA and CNAF resource managers in using the decision aid to schedule modifications and achieve an optimal flow of aircraft to depot and contractor modification facilities. Veracity’s services extend the planning horizon beyond 24 months for the PMA and CNAF. The decision aid enabled planners to maintain availability and to schedule an additional, critical AR mod in FY19. The ability to schedule an additional AR mod would not have been recognized without the rigorous analysis the decision aid provides. In short, greatly enhanced planning fidelity reduced near-term scheduling changes and ensured that 100 percent of required AR aircraft were available for planned deployments.
Veracity’s software decision aid has allowed the PMA and CNAF to schedule aircraft modifications between deployments for every aircraft in every squadron for at least 36 months in advance. The practicality of this plan helps the PMA and CNAF plan for the number of modification teams needed for upcoming mods, identify potential opportunities to schedule additional mod installations, and secure funding, if necessary, in order to meet operational requirements.
Contracting Outcome. By using Veracity’s services, the E-2 Program Office has been able to determine the current and future health of the E-2 fleet and proactively seek remediations for potential inventory shortages identified in the forecast. The Program Office contracted with us to continue supporting the E-2 program with more advanced modeling of its entire inventory and to continue planning services for the remainder of CY20.