With its impeccable attention to service, support, logistics and engineering, AAR has expanded at an incredible pace both in the United States and around the world. For more than 50 years, AAR has supported a significant share of the global aircraft fleet with total support programs. Today, the company employs 2,300 professionals at multiple facilities strategically located in 13 countries in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.
“Our commercial clients include international and regional airlines, cargo carriers and manufacturers of aerospace products,” says AAR Director of Corporate Communications Linda Bartman. “One of our largest customers, however, happens to be the U.S. Department of Defense and its related military branches and agencies.” With more and more emphasis being put on national security and military preparedness, it’s reassuring to know that AAR is supporting agencies that are watching over us. The services they provide to the military originate mainly through four separate divisions of AAR: Mobility Systems, Defense Systems and Logistics, Composites and Aircraft Services.
AAR Mobility Systems, formerly AAR Cadillac Manufacturing, is the world’s premier supplier of mobility systems for the Department of Defense, other government agencies and commercial customers. The division’s systems blend commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with military specifications and mission requirements to provide custom, low-cost solutions.
Airlift/helicopter slingable containers are one of AAR’s specialties, from standard break-bulk and small-parts storage to maintenance shops and refrigerated models. The systems are four-way forkliftable and are available with a variety of accessories including dehumidification, storage systems, electronic racks and cabling, environmental controls and weapons racks. Also on the production line are a wide variety of air cargo pallets designed for handling various deployment missions in virtually every military and commercial aircraft cargo system.
AAR’s transportable shelter systems are designed, integrated and manufactured for rapid response to disasters and emergencies anywhere in the world. AAR engineers are experts in designing high-strength structures that are light, easily transportable and fully operational in a matter of minutes. Its custom-designed systems include communication centers, sanitary facilities, laundries, barracks, maintenance facilities and kitchens.
Ready for Take-off
AAR’s service operation provides a full range of repair and modification options for mobile shelters and logistics support for all branches of the U.S. military and state, local and even foreign governments. It has performed integration services on many shelter systems including ground-approach radar, navigational and landing systems, command posts, avionics testing facilities and mobile warehouses.
AAR also designs and produces composite products for aircraft applications such as flooring systems, decompression panels and cargo liners. During the past decade, AAR has also provided many industrial solutions that have leveraged its commercial applications experience in composite technologies. AAR Mobility Systems’ General Manager Mark McDonald explains why these products and services are unique. “AAR Mobility Systems has 40 years of experience in the research, development, and production of lightweight, high-strength composite materials for commercial and military applications,” he stresses. “Our ability to deliver innovative systems that solve customer operating challenges much faster than our competitors has made us the industry leader.”
Additionally, AAR Composites’ facility in Clearwater, Fla., offers many products and services to the military community. Its advanced composites manufacturing capability provides an essential component for the flare dispenser system of the F-22 aircraft. The facility also repairs composite and metal bond structural components, and offers a unique capability that has the potential of saving millions of dollars in maintenance costs for the military. AAR Composites designs and develops structural replacement components for aging aircraft components. This program saves maintenance costs by seeking recurring structural failures, then improving part availability and extending the life of aircraft by providing a high-technology alternative through a qualified replacement component. This program has been successfully implemented on the JSTARS floor panels, and is being evaluated for many other structural components such as wing panels, access covers, fairings, control surfaces and fuselage panels.
AAR Defense Systems & Logistics, a subsidiary of AAR’s Aircraft & Turbine Center, provides supply chain management (SCM) services for prime defense OEMs to support Defense Department aerospace programs. AAR adds value to the supply chain with inventory management systems that seamlessly interface directly with Defense Department systems by delivering innovative logistics solutions that provide real-time information and get parts to the war fighter on time, every time and by reducing the government’s total ownership costs.
Defense Systems & Logistics provides total SCM for the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar Systems (J/STARS), under contract to Northrop Grumman. The division operates warehouse/distribution facilities in Macon, Ga., manages component repairs, including performing certain repairs, and provides inventory procurement, replenishment and forecasting.
Defense Systems & Logistics also provides warehouse, distribution and inventory management services for General Electric Aircraft Engines’ new F414 engine, which powers the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. AAR operates facilities in Jacksonville, Fla., to support this program.
The company has been selected by a number of prime defense OEMs to provide logistics and supply chain services for upcoming military programs, including Lockheed Martin, Hamilton Sundstrand and the Maritime Helicopter Support Company (MHSCo), a joint venture of Sikorsky Aircraft and Lockheed Martin.
The third military-related division under the AAR umbrella is its Aircraft Services Division. Aircraft Services specializes in narrow-body aircraft. It also buys and leases aircraft to the U.S. government. From its facility in Oklahoma City, Okla., Aircraft Services provides service and support to more than 50 worldwide major airlines and 30 regional airline clients. These services include aircraft maintenance, inspection and repair, major airframe modification, avionics service and installation, structural repair, interior refurbishment, exterior refinishing, engineering services and support, and complete overhaul and repair capabilities for many type structural components. In addition, AAR Aircraft Services provides contractor logistics services for the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy, including flight-line maintenance and management of an inventory of more than 15,000 parts for their support. AAR Aircraft Services also manages aircraft storage, inspection and tear-down services at its facility in Roswell, N.M.
Don Ward, AAR Aircraft Services’ president, states, “Our people are focused and dedicated. We want to be the best at providing value added services and high quality products to our customers.”
Regardless of the slump the airline industry has experienced in the last six months, AAR’s chief executive officer, David P. Storch, remains optimistic about the future. “As the industry recovers, we expect to see increased outsourcing opportunities for our products and services. We have viewed this time as an offering of positive opportunities to expand our customer base.”
Just when you thought a company like AAR couldn’t fly any higher, it seems to find new ways to innovate segments of the market. Most recently, the company transitioned one of its Engine Component Services facilities to what’s now known as AAR Power Services, which is dedicated solely to the support of industrial turbine engines. Also making its debut has been AAR’s state-of-the-art reinforced cockpit door, unveiled in March 2002, as well as a recent business venture with Air France. It’s easy to see that no matter what the financial skies look like, AAR will always be able to soar above the clouds.