Conditioned Based Maintenance Plus (CBM+): Is your program ready?

August 6th, 2018|NEWS: SME Insight|
C-5M MSG-3 Inspection

(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman William Johnson)

Since 2002, the Department of Defense (DOD) has viewed Condition-Based Maintenance Plus (CBM+) as a transformational maintenance methodology, capable of improving productivity, shortening maintenance cycles, lowering costs, and increasing availability and reliability through improved business processes and as-it-happens information analysis. CBM+ data analysis methods and prognostic tools allow maintainers to predict issues before they happen, enabling preemptive maintenance and ensuring the right parts are in the right place at the right time—avoiding “fly-to-failure”. Major commercial airlines and engine manufacturers have already benefited from CBM+, while within the DOD, CBM+ has remained more of a concept than reality—until now.

What’s changed?

Big data analytics is a huge game changer. Through evolving IT infrastructure, cloud-based storage, increased processing speeds and sophisticated predictive techniques, analysis never before possible can now be accomplished in real-time. This shift in the art-of-the-possible has not gone unnoticed. A recent SAF/AQ-directed, 45-day “sprint” review team was tasked with developing strategies to improve aircraft availability. A major recommendation? CBM+. With high-level proponents including Dr. Will Roper, SAF/AQ (AT&L); General Ellen Pawlikowski, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC); and General Carlton Everhart, Commander, Air Mobility Command (AMC), CBM+ initiatives are on the fast track.


The USAF’s CBM+ vision is robust. The maintenance toolbox of the future will include real-time data streaming, predictive maintenance algorithms and reporting, active Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and Maintenance Steering Group-3 (MSG-3), condition-based inspections and comprehensive fleet health dashboards. For some time, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Engineering Directorate R&M and Sustainment Branch (AFLCMC/EZP) has been developing prognostic tools and algorithms which enable real-time reliability assessments and failure prediction. The office is also evaluating cloud storage and data analysis tools that will offer commonality between programs, while being tailorable to specific programs’ needs. The C-5M and B-1B platforms are currently serving as USAF Pathfinder programs and have successfully demonstrated several USAF-developed CBM+ solutions. However, in addition to new technology tools, moving to CBM+ requires a significant cultural change to become a reality.

Platform Planning

Today, all military platforms and maintainers should be laying the groundwork for CBM+ implementation. This is no small task. Moving from a fly-to-failure to a condition-based maintenance philosophy presents extreme cultural challenges which require a clear change in mindset to overcome. Within this mindset, programs must take a new, holistic look at platform maintenance across five key CBM+ enablers: data stream, infrastructure, tools, processes, and policies. For each enabler, a platform’s current capabilities and maintenance approach must be systematically evaluated to identify transformative processes and tools which will enable the platform to make the cultural shift.

Dayton Aerospace Support

With first-hand CBM+ experience, including active participation in USAF Pathfinder programs and initiatives, Dayton Aerospace experts can help programs address the technical and management challenges presented by a CBM+ shift. We provide programs with the structure behind CBM+ planning—identifying and evaluating key maintenance drivers and helping programs determine what systems should be targeted for a CBM+ solution. We help teams develop out-of-the-box solutions, perform cost benefit analyses and triage initiatives to determine a program’s best plan of attack.

CBM+ implementation requires programs to consider…

  • Which non-mission capable maintenance drivers have the greatest availability impact?

  • Can a portable maintenance aid or sensor be used to access and monitor data to measure and assess performance degradation over time?

  • What is the ‘bell ringer’ that will trigger action and what will the action be?

  • Should a scheduled maintenance action be inserted??

  • How much will implementation cost and will there be a payback?


Interested in discussing CBM+ with a Dayton Aerospace expert?
Get in touch.