October 1997

Chapter 10: Cooperative Logistics

Cooperative Logistics Techniques

1022. There are a number of materiel management techniques which are prerequisites for, or support, the introduction of cooperative logistics arrangements.

NATO Codification System (NCS)

1023. Every holder of materiel, whether to be manufacturer or user, requires a system to identify his equipment. For the manufacturer this system will be centred on monitoring the conception, production and sale of the items. For the user, this system should allow him to manage his resources through accurate stock control and forecasting of reprovisioning needs. Consequently the same type of items, which could satisfy a similar need, but manufactured by different companies, will be identified by a different numbering system. This system cannot satisfy the requirements of users who manage their inventories by type of items notwithstanding their origins.

1024. The NCS therefore is conceived to respond to the requirements in the fields of acquisition of materiel, warehousing and management of resources, maintenance, and disposal. It is based upon the NATO Stock Number (NSN); to every item of supply is assigned a unique NSN, notwithstanding how many items of production might satisfy the requirements and how many users there are.

1025. The NSN consists of:

  • a four digit NATO supply classification broken down into two parts: a two digit code which indicates the group (family of items having the same physical, performance or functional characteristics); a two digit code which describes the class within the group;
  • a two digit code which identifies the producing country; and
  • a sequential seven digit code, a non-significant number given by the National Codification Bureau of the producing country, which identifies the item without ambiguity throughout its lifecycle.

    Example: 5905-00-7345199
    59: group electrical and electronic equipment components
    05: resistors
    00: United States
    7345199: number uniquely identifying the item

1026. Information associated with the NSN includes the list of approved item names; the list of items of production complying with the item of supply concept; the list of user nations; the item descriptive characteristics data; information about interchangeable components and substitutes; information on transportation, storage and packaging; management data.

1027. The NCS is managed by the Group of National Directors on Codification - AC/135 which is supported by NAMSA. They produce the NATO Master Cross Reference List (N-MCRL) on CD-Rom that includes all 15,000,000 NSNs, some 30,000,000 part numbers, and information about more than 230,000 manufacturers and vendors. NAMSA also manages the NATO Mailbox System (MBS) allowing the transfer of data among the member countries.

Integrated Logistics Support (ILS)

1028. ILS is the management and technical process through which supportability and logistics support considerations of systems/equipments are integrated from the early phases of, and throughout the life cycle of, the project, and by which all elements of logistic support are planned, acquired, tested and provided in a timely and cost-effective manner. It is NATO policy to ensure that financial and other resources required to maintain operational availability receive the same emphasis as those required to achieve performance objectives and timely delivery of the equipment. The SNLC developed ALP-10 on Integrated Logistics Support in 1991.

1029. ILS is structured around the lifecycle management model as used in the Phased Armaments Programming System (PAPS) (see Chapter 9). The model portrays the total life span of a system, commencing with mission-need evaluation and extending through the inservice phase to its eventual disengagement. The model is applied to both commonly and jointly funded projects.

Logistic Support Analysis (LSA)

1030. LSA is a structured process which includes actions to define, analyze and quantify logistics support requirements, and to influence design for supportability, throughout system development. It stresses simplicity and reduced logistics requirements, and the objective of LSA is to enable optimum system performance and availability at minimum life cycle cost. The LSA is conducted on an interactive basis throughout the acquisition cycle as studies, trade-offs, service advice, and test and evaluation lead to successive design refinement.

  1. During design, the analysis is oriented towards assisting the design engineering in incorporating logistic requirements into equipment design. This includes incorporation of key logistic-related design objectives, reliability, maintainability and testability.
  2. As the project progresses, the LSA process concentrates on providing detailed descriptions of specific resources required to support a system throughout its in-service phase by providing timely valid data for all areas of ILS. That data is used to plan, acquire and position support resources (personnel, funding and materiel) to ensure deployed systems meet their availability requirements.
  3. During the later production and in-service phases of the project, feedback data are used to review the continuing validity of data to ensure that Life Cycle Cost (LCC) plans are being realised.

Life Cycle Costing (LCC)

1031. LCC is the total sum of the direct, indirect, recurring, non-recurring and other related costs incurred, or estimated to be incurred, in the design, development, production, operations, maintenance and support of a major system over its anticipated life span. The LCC analysis is a typical task that starts early in the life cycle of the project and must be carried out throughout the entire life cycle of the system.

Continuous Acquisition and Life Cycle Support (CALS)

1032. CALS is intended to capture, store, and process, in digital form, all technical, logistical, financial, design, and manufacturing information relating to a weapon system from the early stages of the acquisition through to the end of its service life. Information is held in a database from which it can be extracted and manipulated to provide the engineering specifications, lists of spare parts, maintenance manuals and other support needed to build the weapon system and to keep it operational.

1033. NATO CALS may be described as a strategy to enable government and industry in the Alliance to move in a coordinated way to achieve the following objectives:

  • the integration of design, development, production and support engineering and weapons systems support to reduce development/production lead times and costs; and
  • the near paperless flow of information between Alliance governments/forces and industry, and within industry in order to enhance communication, reduce lead times and ease collaboration between Alliance partners.

1034. CALS-like concepts and standards such as Association Européenne des Constructeurs de Matériel Arospatial 2000 (AECMA 2000) already in use for the NATO Multirole Combat Aircraft (NMCA) and the European Fighter (EF) Aircraft have a much more limited scope than CALS. It will therefore be necessary to study CALS-like systems to determine areas of compatibility or features that could enhance NATO CALS.

1035. A NATO CALS Management Board (NCMB) and a NATO CALS Office (NCO), sponsored by nations and created in 1993, are developing CALS policy. Inter alia, the NCO provides liaison on CALS matters with other NATO Committees, produces CALS implementation recommendations/programmes for NIAG studies, and is developing a set of common CALS standards for eventual integration into International Standards.

1036. NAMSA may play an executive and supporting role, and the establishment of a NATO CALS Information and Logistics Data Centre is under consideration.

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