Air Force makes aircraft maintenance tracking wireless

Hill Air Force Base is beta-testing a wireless environment for the logistics applications it uses to track equipment for its aircraft.

The Air Force Material Center at the Ogden, Utah, base is running newly released IBM WebSphere Everyplace Access 4.3 under AIX on eServers. The IBM software lets Air Force users bring up the Automated Manifest Tracking System for aircraft parts delivery worldwide on mobile devices in real time.

Users will be able to view repair, component availability and maintenance data for F-16, A-10 and C-130 military aircraft.

'We evaluated several products on the market very carefully,' said Myron Anderson, Hill's provisional IT director, adding that IBM's system will save the Air Force millions of dollars annually. 'Our requirements for high-grade security, device independence and flexibility were highly demanding.'

The IBM software, which is FIPS-140 certified and based on open standards, works with Pocket PC, Symbian, Palm and Linux platforms. It conforms to the Java2 Enterprise Edition platform on the server side and Java2 Micro Edition platform on the client side, incorporating Java application program interfaces, said Rod C. Adkins, IBM general manager for pervasive computing.

'When the next device comes in, you're pretty much reinventing the wheel,' Adkins said. 'This allows you to bring a lot of different devices into the operating environment.'

It also includes a WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager, which continually searches for access points to wireless networks.

The list price for Websphere Everyplace Access software starts at $85,000.

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