Securing air force availability at the forward operating base

 

Air forces all over the world are facing an increased number of international assignments related to support in, for instance, catastrophe areas or during peace keeping missions. Add the everyday responsibility to maintain national sovereignty and it’s easy to see that new requirements are put into play. Flexibility and mobility becomes increasingly important as well as the constant challenge of dealing with asymmetric threats from enemies and terrorists.

One of the most essential parameters of an aircraft fleet at all times is availability. When lives are at stake, missions has to be carried out quickly and flexible. With mobile airbases, air forces acquire the ability to quickly reorganise for both national and international efforts and get closer to the mission area. Consequently becoming more efficient. 

"Having mobile aircraft maintenance capacity contributes to increasing an air force’s operational availability, both during training and mission deployment", says Christoffer Rashdan, Business Development Director at Saab.   

Saabs solution Deployable Aircraft Maintenance Facility consists of a mobile hangar and maintenance containers which provides main base maintenance workshop capacity in a mobile format. In addition integrated Barracuda multispectral camouflage offers superior protection. This enhances the operator’s maintenance capabilities and instead of sending fighter aircraft and helicopters back to the main operating base, increased service can be carried out at the forward operating base. As a result, the availability and ability of the aircraft fleet increase and lives as well as money are saved.

Sweden’s experience of deployable maintenance solutions for forward operating bases dates back to the cold war were the policy of the Swedish Air Forces was to operate aircraft out of numerous dispersed air bases. This made it vital to keep staff resources, support systems and spares to a minimum.

Easy, mobile and flexible

The Deployable Aircraft Maintenance Facility is easily transportable and rapidly assembled without the need for heavy machinery. It provides the same functionality as a stationary maintenance workshop. The solution has a flexible design offering modular and scalable capabilities.

"It is the operational requirements that demand the type of capabilities needed during deployment. The unit can quickly begin operations on a small scale with a limited amount of materiel and then grow and gain more availability in function and endurance", Christoffer explains.

Due to its versatile size, the hangar is able to house most available fixed wing fighter aircraft and a large number of rotary wing aircraft.

At the other end, the system is designed to be deployed and in use for several years without any significant maintenance required.

A workplace that is proven to save lives

Forward operating bases are vulnerable, therefore it is important to protect personnel, aircraft and equipment against any incoming threat. In order to protect the hangar and maintenance containers visually, against advanced sensors, such as heat-seeking infrared and radar, multispectral camouflage is an integrated part of the solution.

"It is a proven fact that multispectral camouflage protection saves lives in mission environment", says Christoffer.

The Deployable Aircraft Maintenance Facility comprises a hangar for storage, protection and maintenance of the aircraft, a flexible amount of maintenance containers and integrated Barracuda multispectral camouflage protection.

When protecting a nations sovereignty, assisting in disaster areas, participating in peace keeping missions or training defence capability, the ability to safely advance and regroup in the field and to be flexible in an environment that often extend over large and sometimes difficult and unknown territory, is core and very important.

"This mobility and flexibility can make the difference in whether you save lives or not. The Swedish Airforce has already utilized this concept during several missions as well as during training", says Christoffer.