Implementation of Structural Health Monitoring for the USMC CH-53E
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND PATUXENT RIVER MD STRUCTURES DIV
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There is great concern in the U. S. NavyMarine Corps aviation community regarding out-year operating costs. Simply put, there may not be sufficient funds for the services to execute their mission goals. Studies and initiatives have been undertaken to reduce Operational and Support Costs, with a keen interest in Condition Based Maintenance CBM and a re-structuring of the logistics infrastructure. A key artifact of CBM, Structural Health and Usage Monitoring SHUM, is vital to the Chief of Naval Operations CNO vision of the right readiness, at the right cost. The Structural Appraisal of Fatigue Effects SAFE program at the Naval Air Systems Command NAVAIR has been providing structural tracking information to maintain the structural integrity of US Navy aircraft for over 30 years. The SAFE program uses parametric data from onboard flight recorders to accrue component life consumption via actual flight data vice an assumed usage spectrum. The objective is to determine if an aircraft is flown more or less severely than designed, and to provide benefit in the form of either safety or economy. Although most of the beneficiaries from the SAFE program have been fixed wing aircraft, NAVAIR has been working to implement the first rotorcraft fleet in SAFE, the Integrated Mechanical Diagnostics System IMDS equipped CH-53E helicopter. Seven CH-53E components selected upon criticality, perceived benefit, and expense, were evaluated via SAFE. There are two ways to execute SHUM. The first is to implement a CH-53E SAFE program to provide a Fatigue Life Expended FLE metric based upon component specific aircraft usage. The second is to update the aircraft usage spectrum based upon fleet-wide aircraft usage. The CH-53E program has funded both of these paths to maximize benefit.