ISE Seminar Series

Long-term Military Flight and Maintenance Planning

Rob Dell.

Rob Dell

Professor, UB Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

October 6, 2023 | 11 a.m. | 101 Davis Hall


Managers of military aircraft fleets must balance short-term requirements while maintaining long-term aircraft viability. Maintaining long-term viability is particularly important when managing a fleet to retirement, such that aircraft are neither overutilized (forcing them to retire before the rest of the fleet) or under-utilized (retiring them with unused flying hours). We present a mixed integer-linear program (MIP) for optimal management of a fleet over a multiple-year time horizon. The MIP prescribes decisions on when to deploy aircraft, when to induct aircraft into depot maintenance within an induction window (for either elapsed time-based or flying hours-based intervals), when to modify aircraft, and how to fly aircraft to both meet ongoing fleet and squadron requirements, and reach retirement targets. We demonstrate the MIP and discuss solution strategies for examples based on real-world experience.


Dr. Robert F. Dell joined the University at Buffalo as Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering during the Fall 2022 semester. He previously served on the faculty of the Operations Research (OR) Department at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). His NPS leadership roles included Acting Provost from March 2020 to March 2021, Dean of the NPS Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences from 2019 to March 2022 (excluding time as Acting Provost), Executive Director of the NPS Data Science and Analytics Group from 2018 to 2022, and Chair of the OR Department from 2009 to 2015. During his tenure as Chair the department received the 2013 INFORMS Smith Prize. He served as editor-in-chief of the Military Operations Research Journal from 2015 to 2018. Professor Dell has received millions of dollars of reimbursable research awarded by the uniformed services, department of defense organizations, and intelligence agencies. He has also applied optimization in the private sector in areas including production scheduling, supply chain design, and professional sports analytics. He has deployed twice to combat zones. Professor Dell has been awarded the Barchi, Koopman, Rist, and Wanner prizes for military operations research. He has also received two Brazilian Navy awards (the Order of Naval Merit and the Tamandaré Merit Medal), two Department of the Army Payne Memorial Awards for Excellence in Analysis, and two Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Awards.

Event Date: October 6, 2023