Aerial Warfare

NATO Support and Procurement Agency Supports MMF with Maintenance of DIRCM Components

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NATO Support and Procurement Agency Supports MMF with Maintenance of DIRCM Components

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NATO Support and Procurement Agency Supports MMF with Maintenance of DIRCM Components
NATO Support and Procurement Agency Supports MMF with Maintenance of DIRCM Components

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) supports the Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) Unit (MMU) with the maintenance of J-MUSIC Directed Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM) system components of the MRTT aircraft. The MMF aircraft are equipped with the ELBIT J-MUSIC Directed Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM) system against infrared man-portable shoulder fired ground/air systems. The maintenance of DIRCM components is crucial as it provides protection against infrared missile threats, safeguarding military aircraft during operations. NSPA emerged as the chosen partner, bringing extensive experience, knowledge and best practices to ensure a high level of quality and efficiency in the maintenance processes. Based on this decision, the NSPA MRTT Programme decided to invest, on behalf of the MMU, in the initial provisioning of consumables, special tooling and equipment to set up the capability within the NSPA in-house workshop. This strategic partnership marks the way to a more efficient and reliable maintenance capability that will benefit not only MMF customer Nations but also NATO partners in the future.

NSPA accepted the mission of performing the work under the additional MMU Safety and Quality Management System requirements and adhering to the strict airworthiness regulations (NLD-MAR-145). On 21 March 2024 the MMU received the MAA-NLD approval of the Maintenance Organization Exposition, which includes the extension of the scope for Component Maintenance on DIRCM Systems within NSPA. On 4 April 2024, the First Article Test has been performed and concluded successfully to achieve approval to support DIRCM. During the whole process, NSPA has undergone inspections and audits by both MMU and MAA-NLD to verify their compliance with airworthiness standards. This achievement marks a milestone for the close collaboration between NSPA and the MMU, while highlighting NSPA’s remarkable expertise in the competitive landscape of DIRCM components maintenance. It also creates a potential for NSPA to offer this capability to other J-Music operators, as part of our vision to extend the customer base and scope.

Mr Bart Hummel (NSPA MRTT Programme), initiator of this new business opportunity together with Mr Patrick Houth (NSPA Air and Land Combat Systems Programme), stated:”Long Turn-Around-Times and vulnerable supply chains are a risk to ensure MMF operational readiness and effectiveness. NSPA supports the MMU in mitigating the risk and upholding the integrity and functionality of these systems, thanks to its specialized expertise and infrastructure.”

The NSPA technical teams played a pivotal role in bringing this initiative to life, from Quality process establishment and improvement to implementation. The dedicated technical team has undergone specialized training to effectively diagnose, troubleshoot and perform intricate maintenance procedures on DIRCM components as well as setting-up the Extended O-Level (EOL) maintenance facility within the workshop.

The Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) Fleet (MMF) provides strategic transport, air-to-air refuelling (AAR) and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) capabilities to its participating nations: Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway. The MMF currently consists of ten A330 MRTT aircraft which are registered in the Netherlands, with the Dutch Military Aviation Authority (MAA-NLD) overseeing and issuing related approvals, certificates and licenses in accordance with Dutch Military Aviation Regulations (MAR-NLD). The NSPA owns and manages the MRTT aircraft, while the fleet is operated by the Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport Unit (MMU), comprising of military personnel from the participating countries. The unit is based at the Main Operating Base (MOB) in Eindhoven (Netherlands) and the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Cologne?Wahn (Germany). NSPA provides this support to participating nations through its MRTT MMF Support Partnership.

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