THE REAL STORY BEHIND SERVICING THE F-35
Gerard Janssen - General Manager Aeronamic Services
There was no chance of missing it, but just in case you did, here’s a reminder: Aeronamic is on board to service the F-35, with a program lifetime contract. This means we’ll be on the job for the coming 40-50 years. Being allowed on board is not only a sign of trust in what we do and how we do it. It’s also a great opportunity to show you what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ at Aeronamic. How we manage not only to combine our expertise and innovation, but are even able to ‘pick’ this all up and ‘plant’ it somewhere else. As you might guess, while it sounds simple, there’s a lot more to it than that.
Let’s go back a couple of years. In 2014, the Joint Program Office was already informed by the plans of Aeronamic to start a Service Center in Woensdrecht. We dove into the process of making plans, contracts and bids … and finally in 2016 we were awarded the maintenance contract! What does this mean exactly? It means that we carry out maintenance on the Power & Thermal Management System (PTMS) for at least all European F-35 fighter jets – for the lifetime of a jet, about 40 years! The foundation for my position at Aeronamic had been laid, and it was why I became General Manager of Aeronamic Services in 2017. With 30 years’ experience in aircraft engine maintenance, it’s now my responsibility to open the new Aeronamic location in Woensdrecht. It’s a separate facility, but still with the same Aeronamic DNA.
For the last two years, I immersed myself in the world of Aeronamic, staying in Almelo for two days a week to get to know their unique company culture. In addition, we went about shaping our new facility in close collaboration with Logistiek Centrum Woensdrecht (LCW) of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. We’re busy signing all kinds of contracts, hiring people and literally designing a new facility. And all for one reason. Well, actually two. The first is, of course, to bring services to Woensdrecht. But, second and even more important, we’re bringing innovations! The entire region will benefit from these skills and expertise.
It’s not only about what we do, it’s about the vision behind it. Our vision is to start a movement, together with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, to show people what amazing things we’re doing in the region. And yes, we are doing truly unique amazing things! Aeronamic has the best of both worlds. We know what is happening in the industry and we also know how to tailor ground-breaking innovations to the clients’ needs. When talking about the PTMS on the F-35s we use innovative supply chain methods and state-of-the-art technologies. All this comes from our philosophy to push limits together. To achieve more by doing less.
The talents of tomorrow
We aim to open our new facility in the first half of 2020. Since the duration of the contract is longer than a working life, I won’t be able to finish it. My job is to cultivate a culture which will be viable for the coming decades. After that, it’s up to the talents of tomorrow to expand it further. Our work means nothing if – while doing what we’re great at with people at the top of their game – we’re not at the same time creating a foundation which the following generation of talent can build upon. We push limits today, so they can reach even higher tomorrow. And we can offer the most challenging technical jobs for the next decades. That’s great! We can guarantee employment and create between 40 and 50 new jobs in the coming years.
If I should ever walk around this place as an old man with a walking stick, I hope I feel the same special feeling that I have now. I hope I’ll see an organization of vision, with an energetic ‘can do’ mentality. Because things happen which are truly unique, from a vision which is truly unique. And when that happens, this old man will be very proud.