Small Business Contract Keeps P-8 Poseidon Flying

In May 2020, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) awarded a five-year, Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity, long-term contract for the P-8A Poseidon Maritime aircraft estimated at $30 million to a small business, S&K Aerospace. In the nearly two years since the contract was awarded, the partnership has proved critical to keeping the P-8 in the sky.

The contract award marked the first time a small business was responsible to manage the repair, upgrade and overhaul of 362 commercial common weapon replaceable assemblies used in support of the P-8A. These items have been deemed “commercial common,” or items used on both the P-8A, as well as the Boeing 737 aircraft and were previously repaired primarily by large business Original Equipment Manufacturers.

Since these 362 items are identical to the ones used on the Boeing 737, it was decided by the NAVAIR Program Office these items could be repaired at various Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 Repair Stations.

“These are the large nation-wide and world-wide networks of repair facilities used by airlines and other private aircraft, all of which are governed by FAA regulations,” said Debra Zaslow, Contracting Officer, NAVSUP WSS Performance Based Logistics Center of Excellence. “S&K Aerospace has in-depth knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration-governed repair processes, infrastructure and regulations.”

As the prime contractor, S&K Aerospace is responsible for maintaining all items under this contract and coordinating the necessary repair work to return items to ready for issue condition via repair stations. In the two years since the contract’s award, S&K has received more than 3,000 orders with nearly 2,000 being fulfilled.

S&K does a very good job as an integrator,” said Zaslow. “They have their vendors ready to do the repairs and have also established very good lines of communication. When NAVSUP WSS needs information regarding an item, S&K is always able to provide it.”

“We’ve seen a 50% reduction in customer wait time for the basket of NIINs (parts) completed by S&K,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Hatting, NAVSUP WSS P-8 Integrated Weapon System Team (IWST) director.

The efforts of S&K and NAVSUP WSS’ mission partners have contributed to historic Mission Capable (MC) rates for the Poseidon.

“Everyone in the NAE (Naval Aviation Enterprise), all of our mission partners and vendors have contributed to the MC rate in the P-8 community,” said Hatting. “We went more than a year, 390 days, at or above the MC goal.”

S&K, along with other vendors, participated in a recent end-to-end analysis with the P-8 IWST. The in-person interactions help to solidify the relationship between NAVSUP WSS and its vendors.

“There’s a benefit to face-to-face interaction. We are able to take in the full context of the situation and gain an appreciation for the impact on our stakeholders,” said Hatting. “We performed a deep-dive on those issues that affect the supply chain ultimately leading to productive decisions driving readiness.”

NAVSUP WSS and the Navy rely on contractors, including small businesses, to keep the service’s weapon systems mission ready. The command’s partnership with S&K Aerospace is proving critical to maintaining MC rates for the P-8A Poseidon.

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