Beginning with "an idea" in August 1994, a manufacturer sought a means to demonstrate its technology to the Navy, and sought the assistance of the S&S RL, which created a plan to obtain fleet user assistance and approval for a demonstration. By February 1995, 5 months later, the CRADA had been approved, the installation was accomplished, and flight hours were initiated, using already funded fleet flying hours to gain experience in use of a HUMS on Navy SH-60B helicopters. In less than a year, over 800 hours of flight time produced significant information that may lead to millions in savings over the life of the helicopter, identification of several safety issues that can be resolved far earlier than previously, and clues to human performance issues that had never before been identified. While long term financial impact cannot be immediately be determined, it is likely that at least 30% of the routine maintenance costs for that aircraft can be avoided. Over the life cycle of the aircraft, that amounts to million of dollars.

Both time and money have been saved. Based on the early success of this demonstration, it should be possible to cancel a planned R&D effort for several millions of dollars that would produce little if any gain for the money. A key element of this demonstration was the industry partners' donation of all the costs involved. There was no cost to the Navy.

The "Investment Strategy" pointed out the disparity between losses and investment. The leadership has only recently begun to understand the underlying strategy that would focus fix funding on areas with greatest potential for gain, or return on investment. At the present time, in the Navy and Marine Corps, the greatest potential for payback is in aviation.

Three critical flight safety systems were identified and analyzed for their potential payback to the fleet users. The three systems were (1) flight recorders for all military aircraft, (2) ground proximity warning systems (enhanced from civil/commercial aviation), and (3) HUMS for helicopters.

In May 1995, the CNO approved retrofit of Flight Data Recorders in all F/A-18s and all AV-8Bs. The S&S RL has been instrumental in moving procurement of the FDRs forwarded by several years, through a demonstration and proof of concept in 1994 and 1995, and use of commercial practices in contracting for the F/A-18 retrofit. Savings of $55 million - reducing the original estimate from $85 million to less than $30 million - were realized immediately from use of normal business practice in obtaining initial estimates.

Again, the "user" has been put in first place. The fleet users fully recognized the need for FDRs long ago. Only through the creative tactics of the S&S RL has the goal been approved at the CNO level and funding been identified to obtain these critical systems.

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