A new fatigue monitoring algorithm for Australia’s Boeing F/A-18 A/B Hornet fighters will allow for greater operational flexibility.
The algorithm was created by Australia’s Defence Science Technology Office (DSTO), and is called MSMP3. It replaces an algorithm that, the DSTO says, “over-predicted the damage due to small load cycles resulting in unnecessary conservatism”.
The new algorithm has already been applied to Canberra’s fleet of Hornets, with the strain records of each aircraft adjusted from September 2015.
“As a direct result of the upgrade of the Hornet monitoring program, the reprocessing of the entire fleet’s usage history indicates that fatigue is no longer the main driver to the planned withdrawal date,” says DSTO research leader Loris Molent.
The DSTO adds that the modified monitoring programme will give the Royal Australian Air Force more flexibility amid “the increased tempo of current operations”.
The RAAF operates 71 F/A-18 A/B Hornets, which were acquired in the 1980s. Though the type has received significant upgrades over the years, it is due to be retired by 2022 in favour of the Lockheed Martin F-35A, of which Australia has committed to 72 examples.