The U.S. Air Force relies on its Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) to prevent structural failures and anticipate required maintenance or preventative maintenance actions in order to mitigate major structural repair or replacement events. Diligent record keeping is an essential element of this critical program. The A-10 Aircraft Structural Maintenance Information Management System program was proposed as a means of improving DoD data collection and interrogation systems. The Joint Council on Aging Aircraft also suggested that improvements be made to data collection processes to enable trend analysis.
S&K Engineering and Research was hand selected by the Air Force’s ASIP Lead to help solve this shortfall by developing the Structural Maintenance Information Management System (SMIMS) for the A-10 close air support aircraft. SMIMS provided the A-10 Engineering and Analysis group at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, with a data collection and data mining tool that would allow statistical analysis of the data collected and vastly improve their ability to manage the structural health of the A-10 fleet.
SMIMS is a multi-layered structural maintenance information management system capable of providing A-10 ASIP engineers and maintainers with required structural damage/repair data, compliant with MIL-STD-1530C, to support more accurate individual and fleet wide risk analyses. Additionally, this enhanced visibility of the airframe structural condition with more accurate risk assessment will further assist A-10 maintainers in anticipating/preventing future maintenance actions.
The SMIMS database captures detailed information on the aging processes which occur in the aircraft, and thus supports the ongoing evaluation of structural integrity during sustainment. The database was developed to record all significant damage findings, such as cracks, corrosion, delaminations, etc. discovered during program depot maintenance, analytical condition inspections, time compliance technical order (TCTO) structural inspections, teardown inspections, and normal operational maintenance.
A-10 images courtesy US Air Force