Ready for F-35 maintenance

Corstiaan van Alphen & Joep Janssen - General Support Manager Aeronamic Services & Materials and Manufacturing Engineer Aeronamic

The PTMS maintenance of the F-35 is a joined effort. The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) and Aeronamic are teaming up to make this possible for the whole EMEA region. In an earlier blog, we talked about how we managed to not only combine our expertise and innovation, but are even able to ‘pick’ that all up and ‘plant’ it somewhere else.’ Now we get to the final part. The part of getting ready to start the actual F-35 maintenance. More specifically it means LCW – the logistics center of RNLAF at Woensdrecht Air Base – and Aeronamic have established a partnership that proves to be groundbreaking. Bringing about new effective ways in successfully handling the maintenance.

Like we often share, it’s the people at Aeronamic who make it all happen. And that’s why we also set out to put together a special team for this amazing project. “Would you like to have a pioneering role for Aeronamic?” That’s the question Corstiaan van Alphen got invited with, to join in on both this project and Aeronamic. “I’ve been with Aeronamic for 1,5 years now, but I’ve been in the business of aircraft engine maintenance­ for over 30 years.” General Manager Aeronamic Services Gerard Janssen (read his blog here] also asked Joep Janssen to join the project team. “I’ve been working for Aeronamic since 2013 and I’ve been part of the F-35 project team from the very beginning”, says Joep. “The three of us were trusted the Woensdrecht air base project as one team, in which each one of us has a particular role in making this project successful.”

A quick ‘tour’

Corstiaan van Alphen continues: “It’s nice to give a ‘quick tour’ of where we are located and our surroundings. You should know that our Aeronamic Services maintenance facility is situated amidst the center of excellence for engine maintenance. For years, gas turbine maintenance has been carried out here. For the F16 main engine, the Chinook, the Apache and so on… it all happened here. So, it’s no surprise there’s a ton of high-tech knowhow here. Everything is clustered together in this one place. Nearby our facility you will find one out of three worldwide storage locations that are specifically assigned to collect all parts for the F-35. From the storage location on this air base, parts are distributed to all air bases in Europe.

In the building right next to ours is where the maintenance work on the F-35 engine is done. We ourselves are located in hangar 13. But not like you would expect. We used a box-in-box principle creating a modern, spacious environment that’s easily scalable. That means we can also easily expand it.

Combining powers

Of course we also had interesting challenges in realizing our facility.” Joep Janssen addresses. “Aeronamic is a commercially driven company, the RNLAF is a governmental organization. We both have our own approach in handling things. Aeronamic has a more free hand in taking big leaps, simply because we are much smaller compared to the Ministry of Defense who is one of the biggest employers in the Netherlands. Also, there were a lot of departments we needed to tie in with. A lot of access protocols to arrange: ITAR Regulations, security, first aid, fire safety, organizational matters, contractors, sub-contractors… On the technical side we could exchange best practices. Defense has its special in-house processes and a great infrastructure, but less experience in process optimization. We have a great deal of experience with the newest OEM-standards, years of expertise in MRO for the commercial and defense aircraft industry. That’s why we can help them to improve these processing standards. It’s great to see both worlds come together like this, strong and smooth. Already before we’ve officially started, it turns out to be a win-win to have Aeronamic Services as a physical addition to this air base. On both an organizational as well as a technical level. Just like we expected.

Within a year we went from ‘planting Aeronamic somewhere else’ to being ready for maintenance. A beautiful milestone and an achievement that carries a big promise of what’s to come next. There is so much potential to unlock after taking this step. Being able to channel speed and precision at the same time is at the core of this. Which other achievements do you recognize that demand the same recipe?

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