When it comes to who Greenwood Aerospace supplies, we cover a lot of ground. From military branches to defense prime contractors, our position as an aerospace industry leader connects us with a wide range of clients. But how did the need for prime defense contractors come about? In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. Military prime contractors throughout history
  2. Prime defense contractors in the present day
  3. Greenwood Aerospace’s work with prime defense contractors

The aerospace industry has a long and remarkable history with many pivotal periods that shaped modern government procurement and defense contracting. At Greenwood Aerospace, our customers rely on our services to provide expert knowledge and ensure mission readiness. Let’s look closer at how military prime contractors were established in the U.S. and how Greenwood Aerospace assists them today.

Military Prime Contractors Throughout History

The beginnings for prime defense contractors started as early as the Revolutionary War. However, the modern systems that we know now began forming over a century ago through global conflict which expanded the need for aviation solutions, technological advancements, and more.

Military prime contractors focused on winning wars through production and distribution efforts. Along with these efforts, the United States government implemented a series of new agencies and regulatory bodies to ensure contractor compliance and industry safety standards. This established the procurement and contracting processes that we know today.

World War I

During the First World War, defense prime contracting saw remarkable growth and transformation. With the surge in the need for war materiel, the U.S. military expanded and relied on contracts with private companies to meet supply needs. This expansion provided support to army fleets through part procurement and began to determine what set the defense supply chain apart from the military supply chain

The government also established a series of agencies to manage contracts effectively, one of the most notable ones being the War Industries Board (WIB). The WIB played a crucial role in the efficient production and distribution of goods. The WIB was responsible for:

  • Coordinating and overseeing mobilization efforts
  • Setting production priorities
  • Negotiating contracts with prime defense contractors and subcontractors

In addition to the WIB, the government utilized the U.S. Army's Quartermaster Corps and the Navy's Bureau of Supplies and Accounts to oversee contracts and ensure compliance. Standardized procedures were introduced to streamline acquisition efforts for equipment and supplies and keep up with the global expansion of the defense industry.

New and existing companies formed contracts for goods and services to help the Allies win the First World War. The aircraft industry experienced extraordinary growth during this time, as the ongoing need for advancements in technology, manufacturing, and procurement was essential to the U.S.’s success.

The government used cost-plus contracts extensively during World War I and made agreements to reimburse defense prime contractors for production costs plus a fixed profit margin. This offered a huge incentive for companies to increase production and ensure a steady supply of defense goods.

World War I marked a turning point for military prime contractors. The defense industry intensely grew and required the establishment of agencies and procedures to run at peak efficiency. This laid the foundation for future military contracting practices and preparedness for upcoming conflicts.

World War II

When the U.S. entered World War II, the expansion and evolution of military contracting continued. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government increased military spending on weapons, supplies, and equipment significantly. More agencies and programs were also established to enhance mobilization efforts and oversee contracts.

The War Production Board (WPB) was formed in 1942 and played a central role in ensuring that military prime contractors were working effectively. Much like the WIB, the WPB was responsible for setting production priorities, however, they also focused on:

  1. Allocating resources
  2. Resolving production bottlenecks
  3. Timely and efficient delivery of goods

The previously used cost-plus contracting system was still in effect, but at a much grander scale than in the First World War. The government encouraged existing industries to convert their facilities for war production and facilitated the establishment of new defense plants to address the vast production requirements. 

Subcontractors were more involved in World War II than before. They played crucial roles in offering specialized components, equipment, and services. The need for aerospace suppliers and manufacturers grew exponentially during the Second World War. Prime defense contractors relied on subcontractors whose expertise could assist them with the production of quality aircraft parts, aircraft sustainment, and more.

The scale and complexity of military contracting during World War II necessitated improved coordination and standardization. Stringent policies around MIL-SPEC packaging standards were introduced and implementing processes for inventory management became essential. With the enormous quantities of war materiel being produced in the U.S. at this time, efficiency was key for the U.S. government.

As a result, the defense industry saw an astonishing transformation. Accelerations in technical advancements, government procedures, and industrial production laid the groundwork for military contracting and government procurement that we know today. Prime defense contractors were an essential part of the government’s ongoing defense efforts, meaning they also became essential to the aerospace industry. 

Post-World War

As time has passed, social and economic shifts have dictated the role of the armed forces and, in turn, military prime contractors. The end of the Second World War evolved the role defense prime contractors played in aerospace procurement, but there were still several changes ahead, including the effects of:

  1. The Cold War
  2. Procurement Reforms
  3. Performance-Based Contracting

The Cold War

Barely two years after World War II had ended, the U.S. entered into the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The ongoing battle led to a sustained period of military spending for the government. For the next forty-five years, prime defense contractors played a crucial role in developing aircraft and weapons while working within the government’s procurement and contracting systems to assist in winning the conflict. Huge advancements came from prime defense contractors’ role in The Cold War, such as Lockheed Martin becoming a prominent aerospace manufacturer in the global defense industry. 

Procurement Reforms

During this time, the U.S. government also saw huge shifts within procurement. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, concerns were raised over cost overruns, inefficiencies, and inadequate competition. By the early 1980s, the government established the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Competition in Contracting Act to address these issues. This aimed to:

  • Increase competition
  • Reduce costs
  • Improve transparency

Reforms focused on ensuring fair competition and enhancing accountability for military prime contractors throughout the procurement process. The reforms also opened up a wider conversation about the ways contractors were selected for awards.

Performance-Based Contracting

Since the establishment of reforms in the 1980s, performance-based contracting has been the standard for defense prime contractors. Agencies are focusing more and more on the outcomes of contracts rather than prescribing processes. This ultimately gives contractors more flexibility and incentivizes innovation and cost-effectiveness. 

Another way performance-based contracting has affected prime defense contractors is by how the government lists contracting opportunities. In 2012, the System for Award Management (SAM) was established. Contract opportunities became more transparent through this online system, allowing small business subcontracting plans to be awarded contracts and work with military prime contractors.

Moving toward the present-day, defense prime contractors rely on a series of factors to navigate their contractual requirements, including:

  1. Meeting government regulations
  2. Assisting supply chain management
  3. Sourcing reputable subcontractors

However, military defense contractors’ output is not immune to global external factors. 

An all-gray U-28A Draco from the 310th Special Operations Squadron sits on a tarmac during the day.
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Prime Defense Contractors in the Present Day

For prime defense contractors, finding a reliable aerospace company that is equipped to handle procurement challenges is essential. The scope of work that military prime contractors undertake requires a substantial number of moving parts, including subcontractors. But what factors inform contract requests? 

In this section, we’ll identify the parameters that prime defense contractors must work within and how Greenwood Aerospace assists, including:

  • Modern Defense Budgets
  • Essential Equipment Developments
  • Important Service Developments

For prime defense contractors in the aerospace industry, working with a supplier that is committed to quality can ease the pressures of working within these parameters. At Greenwood Aerospace, our qualifications and our expertise make us a trusted supplier for military defense contractors. We leverage our purchasing history for government agencies and contractors to attain the best price for every part needed. We can help you execute your mission and meet the requirements of defense budgets. 

Modern Defense Budgets

Budgetary decisions made by Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) influence opportunities for prime defense contractors. The defense budget shapes the contracting landscape by defining priorities and areas of focus for military branches. From 2001 to 2022 global military spending increased by over a trillion dollars, with the U.S. accounting for almost 40% of that figure. 

While military prime contractors are well-versed in working within the constraints of defense contract budgets, the wider government defense budget is an essential resource in funding ongoing developments. From research and testing to developing advanced technology and next-generation systems, modern defense budgets are what keep innovative solutions evolving. In the aircraft and aerospace world, modern defense budgets set the framework for agencies to pursue aircraft leasing and aircraft sustainment services, in addition to parts procurement and logistics services.

Agencies like the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) play a key role in delivering essential goods and services through its supply chain which is heavily contributed to by prime defense contractors and their subcontractors. 

Modern defense budgets provide prime defense contractors with a financial framework to achieve procurement plans and modernization efforts for military branches. These developments play a crucial role in how equipment and services are advanced for the military and other government agencies.

Essential Equipment Developments

Equipment developments in the aerospace industry through defense prime contractors are crucial for maintaining the military's air superiority and enhancing its capabilities. In technology advancement alone, military contracting has seen significant growth and changes in the last two decades. 

Cybersecurity, space systems, and artificial intelligence have all seen substantial development through military prime contractors and their subcontractors. Government agencies rely on Greenwood Aerospace to get the right price on parts to fit any budget, as well as assisting in the acceleration of aerospace technology innovation. Defense prime contractors in the aerospace industry contribute to the advancement of equipment that is essential for:

  • Maintaining air superiority
  • Conducting ISR operations
  • Supporting military logistics
  • Enhancing the military's overall operational capabilities

Greenwood Aerospace’s extensive industry knowledge makes us an agile supplier for military and defense contractors across the country. By assisting military prime contractors and the federal government, we facilitate the essential development of crucial aerospace equipment. Greenwood Aerospace assists in the continuing support of aircraft sustainment, atmospheric research, and more through our logistics services.

Important Service Developments

For defense prime contractors and military branches alike, working with an aerospace distributor who delivers effective services makes a difference. It is essential that contracts be completed with the assistance of suppliers who have in-depth knowledge of contractor logistics and globalization efforts.

Prime defense contractors must work within contract lifecycle management to meet key government regulations for the supply chain. This can be a challenging and complex area, one in which Greenwood Aerospace is particularly skilled. We offer contracting and logistics services that support:

For international contracts, prime defense contractors rely on expertise in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contracts and the foreign military sales process. These partnerships with allied nations expand the U.S. military contracting borders and encourage joint ventures for prime defense contractors. For Greenwood Aerospace, our experience assisting with FMS sales has made us a dependable resource for military prime contractors. 

A U.S. Air Force C-12 Huron in the air
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Greenwood Aerospace’s Work With Prime Defense Contractors

Greenwood Aerospace is a powerful aerospace supplier with a diverse range of services to assist prime defense contractors. Our expert team offers extensive support to our contractors, locally and internationally. In this section, we’ll focus on how Greenwood Aerospace:

  • Assists contractors with aerospace procurement
  • Provides key aircraft services
  • Supports prime defense contractors for aircraft

We take great pride in serving U.S. government agencies, private defense contractors, and military defense contractors in national security efforts. Our expertise in aerospace procurement, logistics, contracting, and more, makes us a first choice for federal agencies and private contractors.

Procurement Assistance From Aerospace Industry Experts

At Greenwood Aerospace, we’ve mastered supplier sourcing of aircraft parts and supply chain management with the use of our proprietary company-developed software. Our GPIQ Part Procurement Intelligence allows us to source parts faster with much higher accuracy than anyone else in the business.

Created with prime defense contractors that support special mission aircraft in mind, our software focuses on market intelligence and value enhancement linked to aircraft. We have invested heavily in our procurement process so that our GPIQ Intelligence can be used as your strategic partner – ensuring that your procurement expenses are managed long-term and that you always get what you need at the right price.

For over four decades, we’ve assisted our contractors with:

Our large supply network allows us to mitigate supply chain challenges and rapidly source the parts that military prime contractors need. Our extensive stock in our warehouse in Ponca City, Oklahoma, enables us to distribute exactly what you need fast thanks to our central location.

Greenwood Aerospace’s Key Aircraft Services

Greenwood Aerospace offers aircraft sustainment services as part of our broader procurement capabilities.  Our team of aerospace industry experts prides itself in providing top-of-the-line aircraft sustainment through parts and logistics support. 

The types of aircraft Greenwood Aerospace supports in sustainment include:

  1. Beechcraft Aircraft
  2. Distinguished Transport Aircraft
  3. ISR Aircraft
  4. Single Engine Aircraft
  5. Special Purpose Aircraft

Our services in aircraft sustainment ensure safety, reliability, and operational readiness for your aviation program. The benefits of aircraft sustainment expand the lifespan of your aircraft and optimize your program in all manner of preparedness. For prime defense contractors, a reliable aerospace supplier is a strong asset to aviation programs and prime government contracts. 

Aircraft Support for Prime Defense Contractors

Our range of logistics services for prime defense contractors covers:

We assist defense prime contractors in every aspect of aerospace procurement. From MIL-SPEC packaging to parts storage and distribution, Greenwood Aerospace is a trusted supplier for the Army’s aviation logistic demands.

Connect With Greenwood Aerospace to Fulfill Your Prime Defense Contractor Needs

Are you a defense prime contractor looking for a trusted aerospace supplier? Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you. Request a quote from us, or send your large sales inquiries to sales@governmentprocurement.com. We look forward to working with you!

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