Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (LMTAS) has received a further $6 million contract from the US Navy to continue work on the Air Vehicle Prognostics and Health Management (AVPHM) demonstration programme for its X-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) demonstrator.

The original $6 million contract for AVPHM was awarded in September 1997 with the aim of minimising life-cycle costs by boosting in-service reliability.

Prognostics, also known as case-based reasoning, uses artificial intelligence software to recognise patterns which could be the first warning signs of impending failure. A suspect part or system can then be withdrawn well before significant and costly damage occurs.

The extra funds will allow LMTAS to extend prognostics to real-time monitoring of other aircraft systems such as structure and stealth features, the flight control system, mission systems and the joint distributed information system (JDIS).

In service, the aim is for the airborne predictive monitoring system to inform the engineering support organisation automatically via the JDIS of maintenance actions required. This will allow many current inspections to be removed from the maintenance schedule.

LMTAS intends to test a prototype system in 2000 as a risk-reduction measure for its JSF preferred weapon system concept.

Source: Flight International