Air Force portal to carry aircraft info

The Air Force soon will be using a Web portal for worldwide delivery of its tech orders, which are detailed maintenance and repair procedures for Air Force aircraft, as well as other mission-critical data.

IHS Enterprise Solutions is converting millions of pages of text, illustrations and data tables into electronic formats for secure access on the Defense Department network. The new system will use a Web portal designed and maintained by IHS to incorporate the tech orders and five other data sources, said Dennis Zehnle, IHS president.

Three of the data systems are from the Air Force and three are from IHS. All three Air Logistics Centers will participate: Warner Robins ALC at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.; Oklahoma City ALC at Tinker Air Force Base; and Ogden ALC at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

In addition to tech orders, Air Force users will have instant access to mission-critical parts information, including:

* Engineering drawings.

* Listings of replacement parts in the Air Force inventory.

* Commercial parts and vendor data.

* Military specifications, DOD-adopted standards and commercial industry standards.

Zehnle said that managing hard-copy tech orders can be time-consuming and costly. And because the documents are updated frequently, "technicians must have the latest version before performing repairs and maintenance," he said.

IHS originally was awarded a contract, valued at about $680,000, in November 2000 to complete the portal this month. The company completed a beta version in July 2001 and was prepared to roll out the new portal on schedule, but the events of Sept. 11 have pushed the start date back to February 2002, said Dawn Hale, public relations specialist for Denver-based IHS.

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