The US Army has finalised a deal with Boeing and Aerosystems International to acquire the UK company's Sapphire engineering asset management system to support 400 of its CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters.

Already in service with the UK's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy fleets of AgustaWestland EH101 Merlin HC3 and HM1 helicopters, the Sapphire system could also have future applications with the US Army's Boeing AH-64 Apache attack and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters.

Dubbed the Cargo - Platform Maintenance Environment system for US Army use, the UK-developed system will track people, parts and work conducted in support of aircraft, enabling users to reduce their daily inspection duties, says Aerosystems International.

Sapphire was selected following an army field trial in which it enabled the operator to cut daily inspection loads by around 20% and increase aircraft availability. Maintainers can order replacement parts using a barcode reader, and return failed components to suppliers with their full maintenance histories stored on contact memory buttons tagged to the part.

Roll out of the new system is expected at between 30 and 50 army sites from 2006.



Source: Flight International