Eye on Oracle

Apr 21 2010   5:09PM GMT

Oracle apps fuel Air Force combat system


By Mark Fontecchio

LAS VEGAS – The U.S. Air Force is on the verge of deploying a small part of a new combat support system. Supported by Oracle EBS and OBIEE, the system is meant to streamline supply chain logistics for, among other things, fighter pilots engaging in combat overseas.

“A fighter pilot is merely like a truck driver delivering a package to someone who doesn’t want it but they’re going to receive it anyway,” Steven W. Pavick, a senior systems engineer, said.

The July 6 unveiling will provide tools management for combat vehicles, though Pavick didn’t go into many specifics. Called the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Combat Support System, it will be implemented at Hanscom Air Force Base in the northwest suburbs of Boston, and according to Pavick, will demonstrate capabilities the Air Force wants to implement across the entire project.

The project’s goal is to eliminate legacy systems, providing ERP, advanced planning and scheduling products for the Air Force’s combat support system program.

Pavick explained that the infrastructure behind such a project, though not as glamorous as piloting fighter planes, is nonetheless important. To that end, the Air Force Logistics Transformation Office is tapping Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition to run the operations. Those products will help the Air Force manage all the data that goes into the delivery of such a “package,” whether that be documenting maintenance actions, receiving the shipment, placing the order, or replacing a part.

The choice of Oracle drew some criticism back when the Air Force awarded the bid more than four years ago, with SAP protesting that the bid was awarded unfairly. That protest went nowhere, however.

Pavick is attending the Oracle Collaborate conference in Las Vegas this week, and I was able to catch up with him following a keynote Tuesday morning about information governance given by a couple IBM execs. Pavick wasn’t impressed with the session, saying it was a “sales pitch” that wasn’t his “ball of wax.”

“We already have our own consultants,” he said. “We don’t need any more consulting services.”

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