Organic or Contract Support? Investigating Cost and Performance in Aircraft Sustainment

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Over the past 15 years, the United States Air Force (USAF) has shifted toward utilizing more Contracted Logistics Support (CLS) and away from organic maintenance in their aircraft fleets. Given operating and support costs comprise 53-65% of total life-cycle costs for USAF aircraft, understanding the implications of these sustainment decisions is imperative. Utilizing a maintenance cost per flying hour metric and performing regression analysis, we find the maintenance strategy decision (CLS, mixed, or organic) is the most significant driver. We then examine performance metrics in relation to two established aircraft availability targets. Analysis of variance reveals statistically significant differences between maintenance strategies, with CLS outperforming organic in relation to the targets.


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The Journal of Transportation Management was published by Wayne State University. The journal is hosted on the Wayne State Commons site.



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Journal of Transportation Management