During a visit to the aeronautics industrial workshop (AIA) in Clermont-Ferrand, the French Minister of Armed Forces gave a progress report on the reform of the MCO.
Aeronautical Maintenance Directorate
The MCO is a real work in progress, encouraged by the Minister of Armed Forces, and has undergone several reforms over the last three years. Between the creation of the DMAé - Aeronautical Maintenance Directorate- and the implementation of vertical agreements, the ambition is to make the industry more responsible and to obtain better availability rates. While in 2017, this rate was below 50%, fleet management and operational commitment had an impact on the resources available for training and education of the forces. The French Minister of Armed Forces took advantage of her visit to the AIA in Clermont-Ferrand on October 15 to make an initial assessment. While the figures are encouraging, they nevertheless reflect the long time frame in which this type of reform is taking place. The situation confirms "a clear improvement in the performance of the MCO. This progress is, however, part of a fundamental reform that will be fully realized over time," the Minister of Armed Forces said.
An optimized MCO
This increase is reflected in the figures and is the result of actions carried out by the Ministry. The verticalization of contracts has made it possible to make industrialists more responsible and to better coordinate the MCO by appointing a leader. "In 2017, the Ministry of the Armed Forces could award up to 30 different maintenance contracts to maintain an aircraft in operational condition. With each manufacturer being responsible for a small part of these aircraft, with different priorities, different work methods, and finally, no one felt in charge of flying our planes and helicopters," Florence Parly recalled last Thursday. The reorganization of the MCO has made it possible to appoint for each contract, a project manager from the MCO and thus promote exchanges between the players, allowing the establishment of one-stop-shops for logistics. Seven fleets currently benefit from vertical contracts, some of which are managed from a collaborative platform: the Fennec, the Cougar, the Caracal, the Tigre, the Dauphin, the Panther, the Atlantique 2, the A400M and the Rafale. The objective is to sign 15 additional contracts by 2022.
But although Ministry of Armed Forces has outsourced part of the maintenance operations of these fleets, it continues to rely heavily on the aeronautics industrial service. "Yes, we need SIAé- Aeronautical Industrial Service. We need to be able to challenge our private manufacturers, and we need to keep a very strong expertise and industrial repair capacity in-house. For those who might have doubted it, the health crisis has been a powerful revelation," said the French Minister of the Armed Forces. Moreover, the SIAé has followed the reform dynamic launched in the MCO field and has rethought its modes of action, which has enabled it to reduce the platforms' downtime. "The example of the Tiger visits, whose duration was reduced from 43 to 26 weeks, shows that you have taken the measure of my demand, and those of our armies," completed the Minister.