The Air Force and NCMS Member MELD win big at the Maintenance Innovation Challenge

Ann Arbor, MI — The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) announced today that it has been awarded a fourth consecutive Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA) Cooperative Agreement (CA) from the US Department of Defense (DOD). This competitive award extends NCMS’ 22-year record of success as the CTMA program’s managing partner. The contract is valued at up to $900 million for a period of 5 years.

“It is an honor to build upon our CTMA successes and I’m gratified by DOD’s confidence in NCMS. It reflects our outstanding record of performance since the program’s inception and validates the innovative technical and management solutions we plan for the coming 5 years,” said Lisa Strama, NCMS President and CEO. “We welcome the opportunity to continue our leadership on the program, and we commit our best people to the effort, starting with Debbie Lilu, Vice President, Maintenance and Sustainment Business Development, who has performed ably in her CTMA role. Working as a team, we propose nothing less than to help DOD transform the future of the DOD MxS community by integrating technology innovation at the velocity of change.”

CTMA is the only DOD-wide program focused solely on maintenance improvements. It provides a flexible contract vehicle and collaborative working model for manufacturers, research universities, DOD and other federal agencies to develop relationships and opportunities, drive cutting-edge R&D, and meet warfighter needs through demonstration of new technologies prior to full deployment. NCMS increases CTMA effectiveness by harnessing the capabilities and resources of its 5,000 US technology partners. NCMS’ collaborative framework and disciplined development, demonstration, validation, and transition help DOD solve complex Maintenance and Sustainment (MxS) challenges to ensure American troops are supported by the most up-to-date and best-maintained platforms and tools in the world.

“The readiness of America’s fighting forces hinges on the effectiveness of DoD’s maintenance and sustainment enterprise.  CTMA has become the “go-to” program for bringing the best and brightest ideas from industry and DOD to rapidly innovate the way that affordable materiel readiness is provided to our warfighters.  For the past 22 years, CTMA has diligently and steadily changed maintenance paradigms across the entire sustainment portfolio,” said Mr. Gregory Kilchenstein, Director, Enterprise Maintenance Technology, ODASD – Materiel Readiness. “I am excited about the possibilities afforded by the next 5 years of working shoulder to shoulder with NCMS to transform maintenance and sustainment and ensure the continued superiority of America’s military.

About NCMS
NCMS is a cross-industry technology development consortium dedicated to improving the competitiveness and strength of the US industrial base for over 33 years. NCMS leverages a network of industry, government, and university partners to develop, demonstrate, and transition innovative technologies efficiently, with less risk and lower cost. NCMS enables world-class companies to work effectively with other members on new opportunities—matching highly capable companies with the providers and end users who need their innovations and technology solutions. The NCMS network benefits from an accelerated progression of idea creation through execution.

The Air Force and NCMS Member MELD win big at the Maintenance Innovation Challenge

December 10, 2019, Spokane, WA—Congratulations to the Oklahoma Air Logistics Complex (OC-ALC), the Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Lifecycle Management, and Air Force Research Laboratory for taking the Maintenance Innovation Challenge (MIC) Technology Award at the 2019 DOD Maintenance Symposium. Their submission, Fully Organic Repair of Air Force Assets Via Cold Spray impressed the panel of judges as an excellent example of revolutionary and evolutionary maintenance and sustainment technology. The OC-ALC has retrofitted an existing thermal spray booth to have a dual capability to include cold spray. Additionally, they have become a qualified source for cold spray repair of cast magnesium housings staffed entirely by Air Force personnel.

This submission resonated with the panel of DoD Senior Logistics Managers, who judged the six MIC finalists. They evaluated each submission on the following criteria:

  • Maintenance centricity
  • Original contribution to the State-of-the-Art
  • Commercialism
  • Technical maturity
  • Cross-Service application
  • Potential to benefit maintenance
  • Feasibility and practicality

Based on the strength of presentation and applicability to critical maintenance and sustainment needs, NCMS Member MELD Manufacturing Corporation has taken the People’s Choice Award. Their submission, A Novel Solid-State Technology for Sustainment addresses the need for the warfighter to make critical repairs in the field or at sea. The MELD process is a solid-state additive technology enabling the repair of otherwise unrepairable assets due to the parts/component’s inherent material limitations.

The MIC aims to elevate and expand the call for maintenance innovation to include not only new technology, hardware, and software, but also unique partnerships, resourcing strategies, business practices or processes that promise to make maintenance more capable, agile, and affordable.


About NCMS

The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) is a cross-industry technology development consortium, dedicated to improving the competitiveness and strength of the U.S. industrial base. As a member-based organization, it leverages its network of industry, government, and academia to develop, demonstrate, and transition innovative technologies efficiently, with less risk and lower cost. For more information on NCMS, visit