Marines enlist Enigma Software for maintenance help

The US Marine Corps has hired content management vendor Enigma to help streamline the maintenance and repairs of about 770 light armored vehicles (LAVs) on battlefields, where broken vehicles can endanger the safety of Marines in combat

The US Marine Corps has hired content management vendor Enigma to help streamline the maintenance and repairs of about 770 light armored vehicles (LAVs) on battlefields, where broken vehicles can endanger the safety of Marines in combat.

In an announcement on Monday, the Burlington, Massachusetts-based company said it will provide its Enigma 3C Platform to allow the Marines to create and deploy a series of interactive electronic technical manuals to LAV crews so they can make in-the-field repairs to their vehicles and diagnose any problems.

The electronic repair manuals will provide instant access to service manuals and parts catalogs for all eight models of LAVs used by the Marine Corps and will tie into onboard diagnostic and configuration management systems, as well as parts-ordering and inventory systems. The Marines will be able, for example, to order spare parts that aren't carried aboard the LAVs so the parts can be ready in a nearby supply depot.

The use of the Enigma software is part of an internal Marine Corps program to extend the life of its LAV fleet to 2015 through improved maintenance and vehicle records.

The Marine Corps declined to discuss its use of Enigma products. But John Snow, vice president of marketing at Enigma, said the LAV line was first developed by the Marine Corps in the 1960s and includes vehicles with four, six or eight wheels in various configurations.

The LAVs are mission-critical vehicles used to help the Marines get soldiers and equipment where they need to be. "They have to be up and running," Snow said. "They want this thing to able to keep moving."

The Enigma software will allow a typical three-man crew to conduct maintenance with a visual guide on a laptop computer or other device, including repair instructions that can be based on the mechanical skills of the user, Snow said.

Other businesses, including automotive fleets, process equipment manufacturers and utility company fleets, could use the software in similar ways to improve the performance of their vehicles, he said.

The cost of the multiyear deal will be in the "high six figures," according to Enigma, but no additional details were available. Pricing for the Enigma 3C Platform starts at $US200,000.

The Marine Corps is currently preparing data for inclusion in the system, which it hopes to roll out beginning early next year, Snow said.

Many existing LAVs will get component upgrades that include new sensors to monitor their functions so they can be linked to computer ports and diagnostic programs as part of the package. New wiring harnesses will also be installed to allow the hookups. New LAVs will come with the diagnostic ports and technology already installed.

The Enigma software will use content from about 18,000 pages of documentation, including 70 manuals and parts catalogs, to provide a single, integrated support application for the LAVs.

Marc McCluskey, an analyst at AMR Research in Boston, said Enigma focuses on the service side of businesses with its content management applications, helping to maintain critical equipment for clients. "It provides you with a way to get access to the information very quickly," McCluskey said. "Things break and you want to be able to get them back quickly."

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