An update on our F-35 maintenance facility in Woensdrecht

Joep Janssen and Kick van Loon - Product Support Engineer and Logistics & Supply Chain Engineer

In our previous blog, we talked about the significant progress we made in optimizing our Aeronamic Services facility in Woensdrecht. We achieved the necessary certifications and are officially qualified to perform maintenance on the F-35. Now that the facility is up and running, we’re transitioning from the project phase to the operational phase. Here are our colleagues, Joep Janssen and Kick van Loon, to give you an update on this transition. 

Joep: “As product support engineer, I have been involved in the technical side of the PTMS program since its inception in 2017. Together with Kick – who is responsible for the logistics and supply chain – and five other colleagues, we have made great progress at our Aeronamic Services facility in Woensdrecht We went through extensive training at Honeywell in Phoenix (USA) and continued it in Woensdrecht. After completing the official audit, Aeronamic Services is now truly qualified to perform maintenance on the F-35.” This marks the transition from the project phase to the operational phase. Kick explains: “We’re in the process of further industrialization and optimization and are therefore working closely with our supplier Honeywell and our customer Lockheed Martin. Since we’re in the startup phase, everyone involved has to figure out what works and what doesn’t. That’s why we have biweekly meetings with the project teams to discuss the current projects. The collaborations are very open and transparent. We do what we say and say what we do. And that works very well for all of us.”

Ensuring regularity

Joep continues. “Our work in Woensdrecht is not a standalone project. It’s part of international defense operations as well as an integral part of Aeronamic as a whole. Aeronamic’s values are reflected in Woensdrecht.” Joep is referring to our four core values: time to market, vertical integration, best value, and innovation. “We do as much as possible under one roof, in close collaboration with the RNLAF (Royal Netherlands Air Force). Hopefully this will increase over the coming years. Additionally, our inventory is well organized, and our communication is clear and transparent. We are constantly seeking better solutions in performing operations more efficiently and effectively.” Kick offers an example. “We are currently focused on ensuring more regularity. We want to avoid getting seven units in at once, followed by a few months of inactivity. Continuity is beneficial for filling our own hours and shop, but it’s especially crucial that the units don’t remain grounded for too long.”

Eliminating outsourcing

Aeronamic is constantly optimizing its processes to improve and accelerate them. Kick: “The aim is to effectively manage our future growth. We are dedicated to giving our customers an optimal service. We are actively working on getting a PTMS test cell in-house so that we can eliminate the outsourcing of the ATP test. That’s quite an undertaking. We need to design a space to accommodate it, the  test cell based on US regulations must be adapted to European regulations, and it involves various training courses and qualifications, which we will do in collaboration with the RNLAF and Honeywell. We expect to complete this project before the end of 2025.” Joep adds that – in parallel – Aeronamic  is insourcing  certain types of repairs that are currently being outsourced. “To reduce costs and lead times – and therefore better serve Lockheed Martin – our intention is to do these types of repairs internally. We are working on this together with the RNLAF. We want to strengthen the cohesion of our collaboration by making even greater use of each other’s knowledge and equipment.”

Making the world a safer place

We believe that we have done a great job over the past few years. It’s now time to optimize our production, aiming for a continuous flow of units and anticipating growth in numbers for the coming years. And there’s a reason for that. Joep: “When it comes to the F-35, everything we do is about making the world a safer place. Our agility and proficiency ensure that the units are swiftly back in the air. It’s gratifying for all of us to contribute to peace and security around the world.”

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