On a Mission
George Prill reports from the recent U.S. Department of Defense Joint Panel on Aviation Support Equipment meeting
By Michelle Garetson/p>
By George Prill
On May 21 to 23, 2002, I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Panel on Aviation Support Equipment (JPAVSE) Quarterly Meeting at the Crestview Aerospace Corp. near Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
The mission of the Panel is to serve as a technical and coordinating body under the Joint Program Opportunities Board and the Joint Aeronautical Commanders Group on activities involving aviation support equipment when a common need exists among the Services. The Panel is actively pursuing new joint opportunities to maximize the selection development and introduction of common support equipment and is especially interested in procurement of equipment that is in commercial use - a program known as Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS).
As Ken Sands, the JPAVSE Chair was unable to attend, Mike Flynn from the Naval Air Systems Command acted as Chair of this meeting, which had good Navy participation. Greg Stanley, who heads the Support Equipment and Vehicles Division at Warner Robins Air Logistic Center, led the Air Force contingent. James Richards and Pete Fast represented the Army; Lt. Bob Evans, the Coast Guard; and Stanley Dillon on behalf of the Defense Supply Center at Columbus, OH.
The agenda featured a tour of Crestview Aerospace, a provider of specialized upgrades and conversions to various military aircraft and is involved in some very interesting technology developments.
Tow Tractor News
Of particular interest to the Ground Support community was the work of the Integrated Product Team (IPT) on Tow Tractors and an update on alternative power production. I took particular note of the work of Brent Inman from Warner Robins on his Service Life Assessment Program (SLAP).
The Tow Tractor IPT is led by Lt. Joe Blank from the Navy and Charlene Earles from the Air Force. The Panel appreciated Giliberti, Harlan, Stewart & Stevenson TUG, and Lektro bringing equipment for inspection and demonstration and for making presentations about state-of-the-art technology. The IPT posted a Request for Information (RFI) on the Federal Business Opportunities web site www.fedbizops.gov, as well as on a Web-based GSE clearinghouse, and in an email blast to try to reach as many potential suppliers as possible.
The tractor procurements will be led by different Services depending on their needs for both quantity and delivery and will probably be divided into three, size categories. The one announced on the website is for vehicles with an 80,000-lb. towing capacity. Still wide open is selection of the power source. The RFI lists three possibilities:
- Diesel engine with automatic transmission
- Hybrid diesel electric
- Totally electric
Although they would be a major departure from past practice, towbarless tractors are being considered.
The IPT members are looking forward to the GSE Expo in October as an opportunity to meet with and question potential suppliers. As the Panel envisages a buy of up to 1,650 units over a six-year period, these joint procurements will be a major piece of business for the GSE industry.
Advanced Power Sources
Greg Stanley covered the Air Force's Advanced Power Initiative. He emphasized the Air Force's commitment to this effort and the mission of Carl Perrazola's Advanced Power Technology Office, which is to identify, assess, integrate and transition advanced power sources into Air Force support equipment, vehicles, and bare base acquisitions. The Panel had the opportunity to receive presentations from AeroVironment, Intellimotive, Plug Power, General Dynamics, and CTC — companies that are actively involved in development and use of fuel cell technology.
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