The Monitoring and Investigation center of the Maintenance Squadron in Palmahim AFB is busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a weeks, with real time data regarding UAVs. Thanks to this, the IAF has been able to identify problems before they occur
Aylon Tohar | Translated by: Ofri Aharon
Thanks to a unique initiative established by IAF personnel, multiple accidents in the UAV division have been avoided: the Monitoring and Investigation Center of the Maintenance Squadron in Palmahim AFB supervises the UAVs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing to improve their maintenance abilities, identify problems before they occur and take part in the breakthrough of UAV maintenance.
This center, named “Help Desk”, has been active for the past few months and has been offering a different kind of maintenance to the developing operational division. “The ‘Help Desk’ is the first of its kind in the IAF”, stated Maj. Reshef Shriver, Commander of the UAV Avionics Department in Palmachim AFB. “It brings the UAV Division into the world of proactive maintenance, meaning it gives us the ability to identify problems before they occur and helps track events that come up during flight and give professional help in real time”.
The “Help Desk” was inaugurated last June and began activity in March. Data about the base’s UAV’s condition flow to the center at all times, such as data regarding their surrounding systems such as the mission station and the UAV’s means of communication. The data is analyzed, monitored and supervised at all times. The flight height, speed, the task, the engines temperature, weather, all help create a report using the modern systems and point out problems arising.
“The technological developments in the UAV division give us the opportunity to use the data in order to improve their operational availability,” explained Maj. Shriver. “In the UAVs’ unique system, all of the data is communicated and can go up and down. We get all the data. The new center that we established to analyze this data, makes us pioneers in the avionics world”.
A platform that is an entire system
The Monitoring and Investigation Center was established when the question of how to utilize the data stored in the servers arose. “The UAV division is very dynamic: in the last 20 years the unmanned field in the IAF has changed its face more than any other division”, explains SNR. WAR. OFF. Doron Zrimani, Commander of the Investigation Center in the UAV Avionics Department. “This quality is an opportunity, both operation and maintenance wise, for a change from traditional maintenance in which there are standard treatments to a whole new world of opportunities”.
The center is monitored by maintenance personnel that analyze the data, they are responsible for informing the squadron’s operational rooms the moment they receive a notification. The notification is transferred to the operators or HQ to operate or analyze the error. The entire investigation takes place on the center’s computers that allow them to work together, effectively and faster than in the past by creating an open space for the high-tech personnel, the headquarters and manufacturers.
Ever since the “Help Desk” was opened, every safety incident in the UAV division has been treated in synergy between the involved authorities and the needed systems for investigation and reaching conclusions. The time it takes has significantly lessened thanks to the center and the time it takes for the aircraft to be available from the moment an error is detected until it is returned has shortened. “All the information is here”, SNR. WAR. OFF. Zrimani emphasized. “The lessened time improves our operational abilities in an era in which speed is a crucial element. During war there is an entire investigation system responsible for ensuring availability as quickly as possible”.