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«Being part of a highly motivated and ambitious team is just fantastic for me»

Bernhard Gippert is the Head of the Air2030 Program Support in CS LU (Aeronautical Systems). In this interview, he tells us about his task area and the associated challenges.

Aeronautical Systems, Air2030 Programme

Interview with Bernhard Gippert
Bernhard Gippert, Head of the Air2030 Program Support

Mr. Gippert, what does a Head of Air2030 Program Support do?

As the name implies, we support the program management in all matters concerning the Air2030 program. The various tasks are distributed over several shoulders, and I am responsible for coordinating the activities. The range includes program administration, reporting, program risk management, as well as preparation and follow-up of the program committee meetings. In addition to the coordination activities, my personal range of tasks includes managing the Air2030 Risk Management Board as well as project-specific assignments.

Which are the most exciting challenges for you?

One exciting task is managing the direct offset process with the bidders of the NFA (new fighter aircraft) and the Bodluv ER (enhanced range ground-based air defence systems, extended range) projects during the evaluation phase: The candidates are very interested in having their direct offset projects, which they have conceived together with Swiss industry, pre-approved by armasuisse before submitting the proposals. The so-called “Pre-Approval” requires a certain expertise, combined with good knowledge of the offset rules. This combination is what makes the subject attractive for me. Of course, I am also strongly supported by my colleagues from Engineering and Product Support in this respect, as well as in particular by Per Magnus Larsson, lawyer and offset manager of armasuisse.

Another exciting challenge is determining the life cycle costs for the new fighter aircraft: Creating a reliable cost forecast for 30 years is a task that needs to be approached analytically and with small, verifiable steps.

How did you do it?

First of all, we created a generic model. Its backbone forms the logical link of expenditure and price data (such as fuel consumption times fuel price) of the most important cost drivers (fuel, personnel expenditure and parts supply cost). The model needs a multitude of variables for this purpose (fleet size, flight hour performance, maintenance effort, etc.). The model as well as the ageing parameters to be applied for the model have been verified and specified by the Air2030 Engineering role. This function is also located on program level and manages, among other things, the System-of-Systems Engineering, as well as creating technical specifications for cross-program aspects.

How can a high degree of reliability of the forecast be attained in this manner?

In order for the forecast to be reliable, it is important that the input data has relatively low tolerances: The effort and price parameters are taken from the binding proposals of the various bidders. Own work performed in Switzerland can also be generated from the bidder data (for example, from the maintenance plan of the respective aircraft type). The model can also be used for a plausibility check of some of the received data. Some cost drivers can vary in their field of tolerance over thousands of calculation runs, which delivers a statistical measure for the “reliability” as a result. In addition, the model was validated using the “real data” of the current F/A-18C/D cost trend.

What do you enjoy most about this role?

Being part of a highly motivated and ambitious team is just fantastic for me.

Brief profile

After studying mechanical engineering at the HTL in Biel (Biel School of Engineering), Bernhard Gippert (46) joined “Swissair” in Zürich. As an aircraft system engineer, he was responsible for the pneumatic and the air conditioning system of the MD-11 at SR Technics. After a post-degree study as an industrial engineer (FH), he became interested in the connection between technology and commerce, which led him to Lufthansa Technik in Frankfurt, where he was a Customer Support Engineer for a couple of years. Before Bernhard Gippert joined armasuisse, he was responsible for the maintenance of our F-5 and F/A-18 jets (for the part that was assigned to the industry) as Department Manager at RUAG Aviation. Since September 2018 Bernhard Gippert is the Head of the Air2030 Program Support in CS LU (Aeronautical Systems).