The System Program Director (SPD), located at Robins AFB GA, is the single face to the customer. In the F-15's case, this is the Combat Air Forces (CAF) which consists of Air Combat Command (ACC), USAF in Europe (USAFE) and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and the Air National Guard. The F-15 is currently flown by 21 USAF and National Guard Bureau (NGB) units and three foreign countries--Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Japan. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also considering entering the realm of the F-15. One of our foreign customers (Japan) has the ability to produce their own F-15s. The SPO is very sensitive to the customers' needs and desires and therefore maintains very close communication with them on all aspects of F-15 acquisition and sustainment issues.
In 1991 the F-15 took-on the role of lead platform for integrating Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) and Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) organizations into Integrated Weapon System Management (IWSM) under the new Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC). The two commands were previously responsible for research, development and acquisition by AFSC and logistics support and sustainment for operations by AFLC. The concept of operations employed for a successful merger is known as Integrated Weapon System Management (IWSM). Under the IWSM, AFMC presents a single face to the warfighters/user and would be responsible for cradle-to-grave management of weapons. The F-15 program was one of several programs selected to prototype the IWSM concepts; the other programs included AGM-65 Maverick, Navstar Global Positioning System, Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), B-1B, and Life Support systems.
Since the inception of IWSM, the F-15 has served as the benchmark for other IWSM organizations to emulate as a result of our outstanding success. Today, it continues to be structured as one organization, operating out of two geographically separated locations, led by the single manager-- the F-15 System Program Director (SPD). As the single manager, the SPD is responsible for all facets of acquisition and sustainment (cradle-to-grave management) of the total F-15 weapon system which includes three major product groups, the F-15A-D (Air to Air), the F-15E (Air to Ground), and Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Everything from nuts and bolts, to avionics, to engines, to landing gears, to support equipment and trainers--all fall under the SPDs Area of Responsibility (AOR). Many of these items or subsystems are managed by other Product Group Managers (PGMs) or Material Group Managers (MGMs) located at other AFMC bases or Defense Logistics Agencies. For instance, engines are managed at San Antonio ALC, while landing gears are managed at Hill AFB. The bottom line is: If they are attached to the F-15, then the SPD has oversight.
Prior to the Air Force Materiel Command's (AFMC) merger of the Air Force Logistics Command and Air Force Systems Command, there were two different offices managing different aspects of the F-15. The F-15 AFSC office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base managed the acquisition of the F-15E and new capabilities; while the AFLC office at Robins AFB managed the day-to-day support and modifications to the F-15 A-D fleet and two foreign military sales offices at both locations. When the flag went up on AFMC, Integrated Weapon System Management or commonly known as IWSM (pronounced i wism) was born. The formerly separate offices were combined to a stronger single office with even greater support to the men and women who fly, fight and maintain the Eagle. The success of F-15 IWSM has been a direct result of our Integrated Product Team (IPT) and Process Management Team (PMT) focus.
Even though SPO North and South are currently organized differently and in different geographic locations, they have a common bond which is the IPT and PMT process. These IPTs and PMTs are made up of functional experts (program management, engineering hardware and software, financial management, manufacturing, configuration control, contracting, production, etc) from each location. Leadership of the IPT or PMT is dependent upon the major focus for that effort . If it is a new acquisition, chances are SPO North will retain the leadership of the team. If sustainment is the driver, SPO South is more likely to be designated the lead. Regardless of whether North or South leads the team, there will be a co-lead at the opposite location. This ensures that ownership of the project is shared by both locations and all possible functional specialties have an opportunity to provide value added inputs.
In 1995 the F-15 SPO initiated a forum known as the Aircraft Configuration Management Review (ACMR). The ACMR is the result of a fighter wing's realization that the downtime associated with accomplishing Time Compliance Technical Orders (TCTOs) adversely impacted their flying program objectives. Team Eagle analyzed the circumstances and reengineered their TCTO process--instituted the ACMR process. The ACMR takes a 18-month forward look at the TCTO efforts, to include validation and verification milestones for those programs in the queue. Superintendents from each fighter wing and HQ ACC logisticians, along with our production planners, logistics/program managers review and synergize TCTO work packages.
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