Engineer-General Monique Legrand-Larroche from France's Direction Générale de l'Armement, the director of the brand-new Aeronautical maintenance department (DMAé), was in attendance at the presentation of the next ADS Show. Le Journal de l'Aviation went to meet her after this conference, which was held in Paris on 22nd May, to find out the main directions that French aeronautical MOC (Maintenance in Operational Conditions) will be taking over the next few years.
You have highlighted your desire to introduce new longer (between 5 and 10 years), performance-based maintenance contracts to make industrial companies more responsible. Will there be some initial agreements which will serve as examples to build this future framework?
First of all, we defined aircraft which take priority for reasons of poor performance or because there was a particularly high requirement from the armed forces. These are the Atlantique 2, the A400M, the Cougar and Caracal and the Dauphin, Pedro and Panther. We also chose the Rafale due to a contract renewal.
With these fleets which we have considered as priority, and probably one more, we are starting from initial contracts which will serve as both examples and tests, to enable us to adapt them later according to the feedback we get. I am a pragmatic person.
We'll see what we do well and what we don't do well so that later contracts are more in keeping with what we're able to do.
What will be the performance indicators in these contracts?
For me, the indicators are really "can we carry out the activity?" and "is the number of aircraft the forces need there?" . The availability indicator is only ever a consequence of the other two and must never be the first. There are no figures set for the availability objectives.
The priority is also for the forces to have more aircraft which are able to fly, during overseas operations and also in mainland France, to enable reformation and regeneration.
You announced an increased budget and a desire to transform MOC in depth over the next three years. Will that come with recruitment?
Yes indeed, as part of this transformation we will be required to recruit civilians and have fewer military personnel within the structure. A recruitment policy will be launched, particularly in the Bordeaux region [where the ADS Show is held and which hosts one of the first aeronautical workshops of the SIAé, the industrial cornerstone of the DMAé, ed.].
The DGA launched the DOMINNO study plan with Safran Helicopter Engines last March. Will you be putting more initiatives like this in place?
My objective is to encourage industrial companies to be more innovative and take more support from SMEs. What we're doing with Safran Helicopter Engines, we'll try to reproduce with other project managers.
We need to use input from the digital sector, especially with predictive maintenance. We will therefore be taking support from innovations from the military sector, but also from the civilian world, with SMEs and ETIs.
The challenge is to ensure that these SMEs and ETIs are always well integrated by project manager industrial companies, as they create a lot of innovation and are flexible and able to react quickly. There's work to be done with project manages to make sure that they take this fabric into account. We need to make sure that no-one is left behind when relationships become more vertical.