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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: U.S. Army, South Carolina Guard Set Up Maintenance Research Center

MILITARY

The U.S. Army and the South Carolina National Guard are partnering with the University of South Carolina to research more efficient ways of maintaining helicopter drive trains. The Army’s Aviation and Missile Command and the state Guard have set up a Condition-Based Maintenance Research Center in the university’s College of Engineering and Computing.

The center is the second of its kind for the Army. The first is at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

Backed by nearly $5 million in U.S. Defense Dept. grants, the South Carolina center will focus on mechanical diagnosis and prognosis of helicopter drive trains and predictive maintenance of them. The effort is aimed at making Boeing AH-64 Apaches and CH-47 Chinooks and Sikorsky Aircraft H-60 Black Hawks safer and more economical to operate.

The South Carolina Guard is a U.S. leader in efforts to develop and deploy predictive maintenance techniques. It worked with a company called Intelligent Automation Corp. to refine aviation diagnostic technology under the Vibration Management Enhancement Program. The result is a digitally integrated, embedded health management system that is installed on every Army helicopter model and is a primary Army source of information for the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Condition-Based Maintenance-Plus Initiative.

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