A credible Pacific deterrence posture for the U.S. Navy requires that the fleet of ships, submarines, and aircraft be available to the combatant commander at a rate that outpaces potential adversaries, in order to maintain control of strategic geographic areas and vital supply chains. A new, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled approach to predictive maintenance can help achieve this goal, and increase operational availability across the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Area of Responsibility (INDOPACOM AOR) and elsewhere.
With this approach, AI looks for patterns in vast amounts of maintenance sensor data to predict when parts or systems might fail—and can often find potential problems long before they show up on watchstanders’ consoles. At the same time, the AI helps supply-chain personnel deliver the necessary parts and repair crews with just-in-time logistics. These two components—diagnostic and supply chain—together make up what is known as AI-enabled predictive maintenance.
One way that AI-enabled predictive maintenance helps keep Naval forces forward deployed is by lowering the risk that a key propulsion, weapon, or other system will fail during operations, potentially taking the vessel or aircraft out of action. It also reduces the need to bring ships and submarines into port for lengthy planned-maintenance work.
AI-enabled predictive maintenance is not so much a revolution as an evolution, building on the Navy’s rapid progress in sensor technologies, advanced analytics, secure satellite communications, cloud computing, and a host of other areas.