Whether an old airframe is on the edge of retirement or a brand-new jet, a robust logistics chain, and parts supply are paramount. Greenwood Aerospace is your leader in government procurement, aircraft and parts storage and distribution, and military and defense contracting. Our expertise and services include the following:
- Aircraft parts & accessories
- Fixed-wing aircraft and associated support
- Military aircraft parts
- Storage and distribution of parts and supplies to your organization. We will operate as your private warehouse and distribution network.
This is only a sample of our services and capabilities.Learn more about our services for the defense and military industries. For additional information, you can also contact us here or by emailing email@example.com.
The United States is the #1 exporter of military arms, and it’s not even close. The U.S. provides nearly forty percent of military arms globally; the next runner-up (Russia) is about twenty percent. But with these sales comes great responsibility. As a nation and the world's largest provider of military weapons, the U.S. must thoroughly vet our allies while providing the support they need to operate their aircraft effectively and safely.
Let’s take a look at the Foreign Military Sales program:
- Who authorizes sales?
- What equipment is for sale?
- The support and services that are sold for the equipment
- Third parties who source parts and service contracts for foreign militaries
- And more
What Are Foreign Military Sales?
Simply put, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is the legal transfer of military equipment, along with associated parts, service contracts (maintenance contracts, hardware & software upgrades), and much more. In this case, the aircraft itself is only the tip of the iceberg. Consider our allies' position, especially smaller countries: they don’t have a practically unlimited R&D stream to develop, test, and produce aircraft. So, they reach out to the U.S. for equipment. Let’s say they secure a contract for Beechcraft T-6 Texan IIs. Securing the aircraft is the cornerstone of the process, but it is far from the last thing they need; it is the first thing.
Once they have the aircraft on location, the real work begins. Complex aircraft require constant inspection and preventative maintenance, mainly tactical aircraft. When an aircraft is pushed hard daily, performing high-G maneuvers, and operating at the edge of the envelope, it will eventually fail. When these aircraft break, which they will, a robust supply chain must be in place to get it back up in the air. The Argentine Air Force is experiencing this problem now, with old fighter/attack aircraft with no spare parts. So its fleet of A-4 jets is basically permanently grounded. The supply chain is that important.
So, FMS activities include the whole spectrum of sales and support for a given weapon system, from the cradle to the grave.
What Or Who Governs FMS Activities?
The ultimate authority for all FMS transactions is the President of the United States. However, does this mean that he personally researches every single transaction request? Of course not. The U.S. Department of State is tasked with receiving FMS requests, reviewing them, and either granting or denying them. The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs is the gatekeeper for all requests. Of course, the FMS process is laid out in the U.S. code, giving it legal precedent. The code that governs FMS is 22 USC Sec 2751.
But it doesn’t end at the State Department. The DOD is the agency that actually executes the sales through the Arms Export Control Act. So, it certainly takes a delicate touch to navigate through the FMS process with a strong understanding of international law and the nuance of the international arms trade. Perhaps most importantly, the country requesting FMS approval must be in good standing with the United States of America.
Is It Just The Sale Of Aircraft And Equipment?
Here is where FMS requests can go off track. No, FMS does not only refer to acquiring aircraft or any other equipment. Once the aircraft is purchased, which can either be new or used, a separate FMS may need to be requested and approved for parts, training, maintenance services, etc. Take this news release by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency from last February. Even though Argentina is already an FMS partner and has purchased several T-6 Texan IIs through the process, they still had to be approved for aircraft sustainment through the proper FMS channels. The linked news release explains that this approval allows the Government of Argentina to buy follow-on sustainment and support for their fleet of aircraft. This is a separate approval from the one allowing them to purchase the aircraft in the first place.
How Do Foreign Allies Get Parts Once They Have Their Aircraft?
This is where it gets even more difficult for foreign partners. See, once they are approved for service and sustainment contracts, the DOD and the State Department don’t provide parts or services for our allies. There are two distinct routes that a foreign operator can take to procure parts and services: Foreign Military Sales (FMS), and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). The FMS process is an acquisition program that is run and administered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and the State Department grants final authority on FMS processes. The FMS program is a government program and is administered by the U.S. government. On the other hand, the DCS is the “VFR-direct” option. If a foreign nation has been approved for sales by the State Department, it can enter directly into a commercial contract with a U.S.-based supplier. These contracts favor foreign operators because they can negotiate the contracts more freely (fixed or firm-fixed prices), the end delivery requirement, how it will be paid, and so on. FMS is a more secure option for U.S. vendors but is not as flexible for foreign governments.
This is where independent agents like Government Procurement, which Greenwood Aerospace operates, enter the equation. It is a tall order to fulfill a parts and sustainment contract for our foreign allies. So where do you even start? How do you know who is a reliable parts supplier and who isn’t? Over our long history, we have worked hard to forge long-standing, reliable partnerships to provide you with the highest quality OEM and aftermarket parts. Since parts will come from a lot of different vendors, we can consolidate your orders in-house and kit them for you, so you receive only one shipment without delays. We also provide warehousing in-house, so your parts supply is established and available for shipment when needed.
Okay, So Parts And Services Are Contracted? Where Do I Start?
You can start by giving us a call. If you already have a logistics or supply chain established but think it lacks efficiency, we’ll look at it, and our experienced team of loggies can fine-tune the process. Or, we can establish a new supply chain with warehouse capacity. Our team are experts in MIL-SPEC packing and crating, so you can rest assured that your parts will arrive quickly and exactly how they are supposed to. If you want parts, services, and maintenance for your most valuable assets, call us to discuss the details or start your quote right away!