Rockwell Collins (Booth No. 8040) is slowly introducing a new lifecycle support initiative to civil rotorcraft operators. Known as Flexforce, it is a performance-based agreement that aims to sustain lower maintenance costs for customers in a time of tightening budgets, while simultaneously improving dispatch reliability.
It has been available to commercial fixed-wing aircraft operators and to the military for approximately 15 years, according to Bob Haag, the company’s senior director of global service solutions, and has now gained entrance into the civil rotorcraft sector as well.
The service solution program is not a one size fits all, Haag noted, adding the provider has several different customizable plans to fit the needs of operators and guarantee availability. One has Rockwell Collins putting spare inventory parts on the shelves of customers that won’t actually purchase them until the item is used. Another has the OEM dispatching customer spares as soon as the customer consumes them, while a third is a long-term lifecycle management advisory that will monitor its customer-owned products to ensure currency and notification of the latest available capabilities.
As an example of the program’s benefits, Haag cited the U.S. Coast Guard’s experience. Several years ago, each year the service would have 70 of its aircraft on the ground or otherwise unable to fulfill their missions due to avionics issues, but once enrolled, that number dwindled to zero. Today, the company supports 213 Coast Guard aircraft (rotary and fixed-wing) at 27 different locations and turnaround for parts dropped from 45 days to less than three while guaranteed aircraft availability increased to better than 99 percent.
Since customers’ aircraft may contain products from other avionics manufacturers, the company is gravitating toward becoming more of a one-stop shop, in terms of providing maintenance for products from manufacturers such as Honeywell or Thales in addition to its own. “We’re very comfortable operating in that world as well,” Haag told AIN.
Coupled with its Intertrade business, which specializes in the brokerage of used parts, maintains an extensive refurbished component inventory and manages the repair chain for non-Rockwell Collins equipment on older aircraft, the company is positioning itself to better serve its rotorcraft customers around the world.