Application of a Greedy Algorithm to Military Aircraft Fleet Retirements


  • Jeffrey Newcamp Delft University of Technology
  • Wim Verhagen Delft University of Technology
  • Heiko Udluft Delft University of Technology
  • Richard Curran Delft University of Technology


Aircraft retirement, Fleet manager, Aircraft cost, Retirement model


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.

Author Biographies

Jeffrey Newcamp, Delft University of Technology

Jeffrey Newcamp is a Major in the United States Air Force and a PhD candidate at the Delft University of Technology, in Delft, Netherlands. His research foci include aging aircraft, aircraft operations and aircraft safety. Prior to his current work, Major Newcamp was an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Systems Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy and has been a flight test engineer for the F‑35 Joint Strike Fighter. Major Newcamp holds three masters degrees, is a FAA certified private pilot and has logged flight time in 27 military and civilian aircraft types.

Wim Verhagen, Delft University of Technology

Dr. W.J.C. Verhagen is the Assistant Professor of Maintenance Operations in the Air Transport and Operations section at the Delft University of Technology. His research focuses on aircraft maintenance operations, with specific attention to development of knowledge-based maintenance systems and optimization models to improve the efficiency of aircraft maintenance planning and execution.

Heiko Udluft, Delft University of Technology

Heiko Udluft is a PhD candidate in the Air Transport and Operations Section of the Aerospace Engineering Faculty at the Delft University of Technology. His research focuses on decentralization in the Air Traffic Management sphere.

Richard Curran, Delft University of Technology

Professor Ricky Curran is Full Professor at Delft University of Technology and head of the Air Transport and Operations section. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is also a member of the Economics Technical Committee, the Value Driven Design Programme Committee and the Progress in Aerospace Sciences Editorial Board. Among various editorial positions he is also the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Aerospace Operations and General Chair and founder of the Air Transport and Operations Symposium (ATOS).






Original Papers