Since 1789, when Congress first created the Department of War and drafted contracts for troop food and clothing, government contracting resources for goods and services has been a practice of the United States Government. 

Today, the U.S. Government allocates upward of $694 billion annually for contracts, of which around one-sixth is allocated to defense spending. As aviation and aerospace companies set their sights on government projects, they find themselves navigating a complex landscape governed by stringent regulations and industry-specific standards. 

In this guide, we’ll explore government contracting resources in aviation and aerospace. Specifically, we’ll look at: 

  1. The landscape of government contracting in aerospace
  2. Key certifications for aviation contractors
  3. Navigating government contracting resources and the certification process
  4. The benefits of government contracting resources beyond compliance 
  5. Staying compliant in a changing landscape
  6. Government contracting services at Greenwood Aerospace 

Greenwood Aerospace is a trusted SBA-certified Hubzone contractor. We’re the top choice of many large government agencies and private contractors in the United States, and with four decades of industry experience, we know how to deliver the best possible results for each client.

Contact Greenwood Aerospace today to work with a government contractor that fulfills all mission objectives on time, safely, and effectively. 

In the meantime, read on to learn more about government contracting resources in aviation and aerospace. 

Government Contracting Resources: Understanding the Landscape

To properly comprehend government contracting in aviation and aerospace, it’s important to start with an understanding of the government contracting landscape. The environment in which subcontractors and prime government contractors operate is marked by a unique set of challenges and opportunities, influenced by evolving regulations, competitive dynamics, and industry-specific demands. 

In this section, we will navigate through the nuances of the government contracting landscape, exploring: 

  • The challenges and opportunities for aviation and aerospace government contractors
  • Growth and trends in government contracts within the industry
  • Our experience working in government contracting 

Then, we’ll move on to discuss the key certifications required for aviation contractors. 

Challenges and Opportunities for Aviation and Aerospace Government Contractors

The path to government contract procurement and successful execution in the aviation and aerospace sector is laden with both challenges and opportunities. Challenges often arise from the intricate nature of the industry, such as: 

  • The need to adhere to stringent regulations
  • Complex procurement processes
  • Evolving technology standards 
  • Geopolitical shifts 
  • Budget uncertainties

While overcoming these challenges can be a process, they also present unique opportunities for forward-thinking aviation companies. Navigating through regulatory complexities can become a competitive advantage, positioning a contractor as a trusted and compliant partner. 

The demand for cutting-edge technology and innovation in the aerospace sector also opens doors for companies to showcase their expertise and government contracting services to secure contracts that drive advancements in the industry.

Growth and Trends in Government Contracts Within the Industry

Understanding the broader context of government contracting trends and the future of government contracting is pivotal for aviation and aerospace professionals. In recent years, the industry has witnessed substantial growth in government contracts, driven by increased investment in defense, space exploration, and technological advancements. 

The push for sustainability and environmental consciousness has also influenced contracts related to aviation, creating new avenues for contractors with expertise in eco-friendly and low-impact solutions. 

Trends within the aviation industry reflect a shift toward more collaborative and agile approaches to government contracting. Partnerships and consortiums are becoming increasingly prevalent as contractors recognize the synergies that arise from pooling resources and expertise. 

Also, the integration of digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and data analytics is becoming a defining trend, reshaping the way aviation and aerospace companies approach and fulfill government contracts.

Our Expertise in Government Contracting

Drawing from four decades of expertise in the field, Greenwood Aerospace brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities within government contract lifecycle management for aviation and aerospace. 

Our team has successfully navigated the intricacies of regulations, demonstrated agility in adapting to industry shifts, and leveraged technological advancements to deliver outstanding results. Over the years, we have secured and executed government contracts, fostered collaborations, implemented innovative solutions, and consistently exceeded client expectations. 

Ready to learn what we can do for you? Contact Greenwood Aerospace today to discuss your specific contracting needs and find solutions with our experts. 

Key Certifications for Aviation Contractors

In the highly regulated and safety-critical world of aviation operations, contractor certifications signify a commitment to quality, compliance, and industry standards. Aviation and aerospace contractors must navigate a complex network of certifications to ensure they meet the stringent requirements set by both regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders. 

Here, we’ll delve into the key certifications that are paramount for aviation and aerospace government contractors, including: 

  1. AS9100 Certification
  2. ITAR Compliance
  3. ISO Standards
  4. NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Certification is essential for aviation and aerospace contractors to stay compliant in the arena of government contracting, especially as government regulations and industry requirements are constantly being reviewed and updated. 

A U.S. Air Force T-6 Texan II on a runway preparing for takeoff
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

AS9100 Certification

AS9100, the aerospace industry's quality management system standard, is the gold standard for aviation and aerospace contractors. Modeled after the ISO 9001 standard, AS9100 adds additional requirements specific to aerospace. This certification covers a spectrum of critical processes, including design, production, safety, and aircraft sustainment

AS9100 is essential for contractors involved in the design and manufacturing of aerospace products, ensuring a standardized approach to quality management throughout the government supply chain. The benefits of AS9100 certification include enhanced product and process quality, improved risk management and traceability, and increased efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

To become AS9100 certified, contractors must undergo an initial assessment and gap analysis, implement any necessary changes, and pass a certification audit performed by an accredited body.

ITAR Compliance

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a crucial compliance framework for aviation and aerospace contractors involved in military and defense contracting. ITAR controls the export and import of defense-related articles, services, and technologies to protect national security interests. 

Having an ITAR-controlled facility is mandatory for contractors dealing with defense articles and services, covering a wide range of products and technologies related to defense applications in the aviation sector. The benefits include legal compliance with U.S. regulations, protection of sensitive defense technologies, and access to government contracts involving defense-related projects. 

To become ITAR certified, contractors must establish ITAR compliance programs, set up employee training on ITAR regulations, and undergo regular audits to ensure ongoing compliance.

ISO Standards

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, particularly ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management), play an important role in the aviation industry. ISO 9001 focuses on quality management, emphasizes quality in processes, and applies to a broad range of aviation activities. ISO 14001 addresses environmental management, and is relevant for aviation contractors committed to minimizing their (and their client’s) environmental impact. 

Adhering to ISO requirements demonstrates that a contractor cares about their clients and understands their own environmental responsibility. To meet ISO standards, contractors undergo an initial assessment and gap analysis, implementation of quality and environmental management systems, and a certification audit by an accredited body.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

With the increasing digitization of aviation systems, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework becomes crucial for safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring the resilience of aviation contractors against cyber threats. Pertinent for prime government contractors handling sensitive data and digital systems, the framework focuses on cybersecurity risk management. 

The benefits of adhering to NIST include protection against cyber threats and data breaches, enhanced cybersecurity posture, and alignment with global cybersecurity best practices. To stay compliant, contractors are required to assess and manage cybersecurity risks, implement security controls and measures, and continuously monitor and improve cybersecurity protocols.

Navigating Government Contracting Resources and the Certification Process

When it comes to government contracting for aviation companies, certification is an important step, but it isn’t always straightforward. Let’s explore the essential steps of obtaining certifications and addressing common challenges that may arise for aviation and aerospace contractors during this process. 

Obtaining Certifications

Obtaining certifications is a pivotal step for large defense contractors looking to establish a robust foundation for government contracting. The process involves a systematic approach, beginning with an initial assessment and gap analysis to identify areas of improvement and compliance. This is followed by the implementation of necessary changes to align with the specific requirements of the chosen certifications. 

For AS9100, ITAR Compliance, ISO standards, and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, becoming certified requires a comprehensive understanding of the standards, dedication to compliance, and effective communication across all levels of the organization. The final stage involves a certification audit conducted by accredited bodies, validating the contractor's adherence to the established standards.

Certification is not a one-time achievement, but an ongoing commitment. It’s essential to establish a system for continuous improvement, regularly review processes, and adapt to changes in standards. At Greenwood Aerospace, we’re constantly furthering our learning and improving our processes, ensuring our team remains at the forefront of industry best practices for government contracting in aerospace and aviation. 

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

While the pursuit of certifications is integral to government contracting success, it is not without its challenges. Common hurdles often include:

  1. Resistance to change
  2. Resource constraints
  3. The complexity of implementing new processes

Resistance to change can be mitigated through effective communication, employee training, and fostering a culture that values continuous improvement. Resource constraints, both in terms of time and finances, can be addressed through strategic planning and prioritization. Identifying key areas that require immediate attention and allocating resources accordingly ensures a gradual and sustainable approach to obtaining certifications for defense prime contractors

The complexity of implementing new processes, especially in larger organizations, can be daunting. Breaking down the implementation into manageable phases, providing clear guidelines, and assigning responsibilities can streamline the process and deliver more effective results.

Image of a UC-35 in flight.

Benefits of Government Contracting Resources Beyond Compliance 

While government contracting resources like certifications and government regulations on supply chain management are often viewed as check boxes for regulatory adherence, their impact extends far beyond obligations. In the aviation industry, certifications can unlock several advantages, which we’ll explore here.

Competitive Advantage

Obtaining and maintaining certifications, such as AS9100, the items covered by ITAR Compliance, ISO standards, and others, positions aviation companies at the forefront of industry standards. This not only demonstrates a commitment to quality and safety, but also serves as a competitive advantage. 

Government agencies and private entities alike prioritize military and defense contractors with established compliance credentials, viewing them as reliable partners capable of delivering high-quality products and services. 

A company certified with AS9100, the aerospace industry's quality management standard, stands out in the competitive landscape. This certification signals to potential clients that the company adheres to stringent quality processes, reducing the perceived risk associated with the procurement of aerospace components or services.

Risk Mitigation

Government contracting inherently involves various risks, from compliance-related issues to operational challenges. Leveraging government contracting resources goes a step further by acting as a robust mechanism for risk mitigation. 

Certifications and compliance frameworks establish standardized processes and practices, reducing the likelihood of errors, defects, or lapses that could lead to project delays or financial losses. 

ITAR compliance, addressing the export and import of defense-related items, ensures legal compliance and, at the same time, reduces the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive defense technologies. By strictly adhering to ITAR regulations, aviation companies safeguard themselves against potential legal consequences and protect national security interests.

Staying Compliant in a Changing Landscape

Government contracting in aviation and aerospace is highly dynamic. Maintaining ongoing compliance requires a proactive approach that goes beyond meeting existing standards. From adapting to regulatory shifts to leveraging government contracting resources for continuous improvement, it’s essential to have strategies in place to stay compliant in an ever-changing landscape. 

Adapting to Regulatory Changes

The aviation industry is subject to evolving regulations influenced by technological advancements, geopolitical shifts, and global events. Aviation professionals must stay vigilant, regularly monitoring updates in regulations, standards, and certifications that may impact their operations, whether for government aircraft maintenance contracts or other government contract awards

For example, in response to emerging cybersecurity threats, regulatory bodies may introduce new guidelines or standards for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. Staying ahead involves not only compliance with existing frameworks, but also a proactive approach to integrating the latest cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data and systems.

Using Government Contracting Resources for Continuous Improvement

Government contracting resources, such as certifications and industry standards, are dynamic tools for continuous improvement. Beyond highlighting compliance, these resources provide a framework for ongoing improvement of services and processes. 

For instance, an organization certified with ISO 9001 (Quality Management) can use the framework as a foundation for continually refining internal processes. Regular internal audits and assessments can identify areas for improvement, leading to increased efficiency, reduced errors, and heightened customer satisfaction.

Government Contracting Resources at Greenwood Aerospace 

Greenwood Aerospace is proud to serve the needs of the U.S. government and military customers. We operate both as a prime government contractor and subcontractor, and have a strong reputation for successfully supporting government missions by providing critical support for government aviation and aerospace programs. 

Our Expertise and Qualifications

Greenwood Aerospace is an SBA-certified HUBZone contractor with more than four decades of experience in aviation and aerospace. Our team is responsible for conducting over 2,500 flights with our missionized fixed-wing aircraft, and understands just how crucial it is to meet every mission objective. Some of the government partners we've worked with include: 

Your best interests and goals are our top priority, as we fulfill mission objectives and deliver fast, quality results to every client. Ready to learn what we can do for you? Contact Greenwood Aerospace today to discuss your contracting needs. 

Additional Aviation and Aerospace Services at Greenwood Aerospace

Greenwood Aerospace offers additional services beyond government contracting, including: 

Whether you need sustainment services for a C-12 Huron fleet, or quality aircraft parts from an ITAR-registered military aircraft parts supplier, our team has the skills and expertise to make it happen. Contact us here or start a quote today. 

Call Us Today to Discuss Your Government Contracting Needs

With unmatched expertise and the dedication to fulfill your mission objectives, the team at Greenwood Aerospace can help keep your fleet safely in the sky. Contact us today to discuss government contracting services or anything else your aviation or aerospace program needs.