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Gulf legacy: from factory floor to desert war

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1 Author(s)
Zorpette, G. ; IEEE Spectrum, New York, NY, USA

The role in the Persian Gulf War of maintenance and of contractor support of the high-tech systems used is examined. Two of the most difficult maintenance challenges were the F-15E and the Joint Stars surveillance aircraft. The measures that enabled maintenance crews to achieve a full mission-capable rate of 94% for the F-15E are described. The Joint Stars program, in which two modified Boeing 707 aircraft were outfitted with an advanced radar to detect moving targets over vast stretches of ground and provide high-resolution images of some of them, was a developmental project whose operational use was sustained by constant contractor involvement. With a war effort depending on developmental systems too new to have stocks of spare parts, rushing newly minted parts to the theater was of paramount importance. Deployment of men and material was planned, simulated, and monitored on computers. Transportation and logistics within the theater, however, were often horrendous. The Defense Logistics Agency hopes to improve the process with a laser-card-based system.<>

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 9 )