Supporting Army fleets through parts procurement

The U.S. Army has a large fixed-wing fleet that is bigger than most air forces worldwide. With around 200 fixed-wing aircraft, the Army is responsible for an enormous fleet of aircraft and pilots. Most of these fixed-wing aircraft are used to transport executive staff members for their missions, but intelligence gathering is another core component. The Army fleet also handles some light cargo operations, so the fleet must be kept capable for all required events at any time. Keeping a well-stocked supply of parts on hand or available immediately is paramount to the success of any fleet, but even more so when the stakes are so high. Let’s take a look at what it takes to keep the U.S. Army fixed-wing fleet of aircraft in the air.   

Army Aviation Logistical Demands

The Army is a giant organization with many millions of moving pieces. Even the smallest Post is a complex ecosystem of organizations. Army aviation is generally tactical, but the fixed-wing component is focused on the transport component. Most of the aviation focus in the Army is on helicopters: the rotor-wing fleet of Army helicopters numbers just under 4,400 rotary-winged aircraft in the force. This alone is an enormous aviation operation, especially when considering the fleet's variety and size.


 The goal of the helicopter fleet is to provide a wide range of support for Army missions, which include transport, special operations, command and control, training, attack, and much more. With this in mind, it is crucial to understand where the funding machine goes in Army aviation. Tactical helicopters are the priority for repair and when it comes time to replace aircraft or procure a new asset. Despite the recommendation to adopt a replacement for the tough and versatile C-12 Huron and its number of derivatives, the proposal continues to be shelved due to cost constraints. Tactical helicopters come first when it comes to funding. The airplanes in the service will continue to support the department, but they have demands. You have to source a reliable supply of parts to fix and service an aging fleet of aircraft.   

Supplying the U.S. Army Fixed Wing Aircraft Fleet

As we said, the lion’s share of aircraft funding in the Army goes toward the helicopter fleet; fixed-wing operations. This is not to say that fixed-wing aviation is neglected; the airplane fleet is fully capable of the operations they are called to fulfill. But it does leave holes to provide modernization upgrades. Part procurement professionals must ensure that a strong supply of parts is sourced, available, and warehoused to fix aircraft when they break, which they will.

Greenwood Aerospace is pleased to serve the United States Military and the world's largest military contractors. We are an ITAR-registered supplier of military aviation parts. We serve as valuable partners in protecting national security, with over 40 years of collective expertise in government procurement of military parts. It is essential to have the right equipment for every mission, and we lead the market in rapid, dependable, and high-quality military aviation parts procurement.  

Considerations for Supplying the C-37 Aircraft

Let’s talk for a little while about the C-37 airplane. It is a civilian commercial off-the-shelf airplane designed to provide executive transport for high-level executives globally. The C-37 is a civilian Gulfstream V with military livery and a few extra features to ensure the security of the aircraft (the details of the self-defense suite are not available). Since the aircraft is non-tactical, maintenance and parts supply are contracted rather than uniform service members, although all pilots are military members. The entire Army fleet of C-37s are Alpha models and are located at U.S. Priority Air Transport (USAPAT) headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base. While they support some missions outside of the DV scope of operations, their main purpose in the fleet is supporting the four-star commanders. There are only three C-37s in the Army fleet, so keeping them well-maintained is highly important. Repair cycles must be followed, and a reliable supply of aircraft parts to keep the repair process moving smoothly. 


Supporting the C-12 Huron Fleet 

The most prolific aircraft in the Army aviation fleet is the C-12 Huron. This aircraft has taken on all kinds of missions, from DV transport (its primary mission), light cargo transport, intelligence gathering, personnel movement, and much more. 

While the Army aviation branch works to develop and replace the Huron, it functions as the primary fixed-wing transport aircraft in the Army. The plan is to keep it in the air for many more years, which it is expected to provide reliable transport services as it has for nearly five decades. The biggest hurdle to ensure the success of the Huron force is to keep a healthy supply of the most-needed parts available. Even the most reliable aircraft breaks down, and the C-12 is no exception. This airplane has remained a constant in the Army aviation fleet for decades due to its hearty construction. But it is because of this that it is used in areas where other executive transport aircraft cannot operate. It is the only airplane in Army aviation that can be used on soft fields. It is also the most widely used aircraft, making its support a priority until it is replaced. 

The good thing about the Huron is that the King Air B200 is still widely used in the civilian world, so there is a great supply of parts for the aircraft. But having parts available and actually getting them and having them on hand are two entirely different things. Greenwood Aerospace finds the parts you need when you need them, so you and your personnel can move on to more pressing things. We also specialize in MILSPEC packing, we provide maintenance parts kitting services and warehouse services for parts storage.  

Unique Challenges of the RC-12X Guardrail Program

While the core airframe is purely King Air B200, the RC-12X Guardrail is a specialized version focused on intelligence gathering. Procuring parts for the airframe is no more difficult than for any other C-12, but the intelligence systems onboard are archaic, and the parts supplies have dried up. According to Army sources, RC-12X aircraft units are forced to cannibalize the boneyard for parts to keep the current fleet in the air.

Now, this is not an uncommon occurrence at all; the B-1B fleet practically lives on cannibalized parts. Many legacy airframes in the military rely on a local cannibalization program. The ARTEMIS program will eventually replace Guardrail, and in the short term, it should ease the strain on existing aircraft. 

Parting Thoughts

The Army aviation program dwarfs most of the air forces in the world, yet it is only supplementary to the Army’s ground mission. Fixed-wing aircraft make up the minority of the fleet, but it is a vital minority. 

If you are the procurement professional for an Army aviation unit, Greenwood Aerospace is here to help you 

  • Establish a reliable supply chain
  • Procure the parts you need
  • Crate or ship parts with MILSPEC packing
  • Free up personnel for other matters besides chasing parts
  • And much more.

If you need parts to support your unit’s Army aviation aircraft, Greenwood Aerospace is your go-to for all your parts procurement needs. To get started, give us a call or request a quote!