Application of a Greedy Algorithm to Military Aircraft Fleet Retirements

ABSTRACT This article presents a retirement analysis model for aircraft fleets. By employing a greedy algorithm, the presented solution is capable of identifying individually weak assets in a fleet of aircraft with inhomogeneous historical utilization. The model forecasts future retirement scenarios employing user-defined decision periods, informed by a cost function, a utility function and demographic inputs to the model. The model satisfies first-order necessary conditions and uses cost minimization, utility maximization or a combination of the 2 as the objective function. This study creates a methodology for applying a greedy algorithm to a military fleet retirement scenario and then uses the United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet for model validation. It is shown that this methodology provides fleet managers with valid retirement options and shows that early retirement decisions substantially impact future fleet cost and utility.