AAR Government Services Inc., headquartered in Wood Dale, Illinois, has secured a contract with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to deliver two C-40 aircraft and associated peculiar support equipment and common support equipment to the US Marine Corps (USMC). The contract worth US$118.6 million entails the acquisition, modification, acceptance and delivery of the two Boeing 737-700C IGW (Increased Gross Weight) series commercial aircraft that will be designated as C-40A when delivered to the USMC in 2020. The contract will also require training the aircrew (pilots, crew chiefs and loadmasters) and training for unique equipment. Besides the USMC, the C-40 is used by both the US Navy (USN) and the US Air Force, providing critical logistics support. The 15 C-40A “Clipper” aircraft in service with the USN replaced the fleet of aging C-9B Skytrain II aircraft, the military version of McDonnell Douglas DC-9 airliner. Worth to note, the C-40A meets or exceeds international noise and environmental requirements, which the fleet of Naval Reserve C-9Bs did not.
The acquisition of the two C-40As by the USMC enshrined in the 2018 Marine Aviation Plan allows for the replacement of the service’s C-9B aircraft. On 4 December 2018, an online notice was posted by the Marines seeking a supplier of C40s to be delivered in 2020. The USMC C9Bs were retired in 2017 and to prepare for the transition to new aircraft, personnel from Marine Transport Squadron 1 (VMR-1) based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth, Texas, was assigned to operate USN “Clippers” until the arrival of their own airframes.
According to the US Department of Defense, the modified 737-700 IGW series airframe and engines will meet cargo/passenger, communication, navigation, safety and military mission system capabilities. The military mission systems will consist of requirements for military navigation and communications systems. The aircraft will be certified in accordance with the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 25 (airworthiness standards) in three aircraft configurations, all-passenger, all-cargo and a combined-passenger-cargo configuration, AAR explained. The all-passenger configuration can carry 121 passengers, while the all-cargo configuration will be able to carry eight 463L (HCU-6/E) cargo pallets. AAR informed that it will manage the programme and provide parts distribution from its headquarters in Wood Dale, Illinois, perform engineering out of the Indianapolis MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility and provide maintenance and modification services at the Oklahoma City MRO and Miami Landing Gear Services facilities. NAVAIR will be responsible for the airworthiness related to the combination configuration unless the configuration falls within an existing FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification.
AAR President and CEO John Holmes said, “This integrated solution delivers an outstanding product focused on cost efficiency that directly aligns with the Secretary of the Navy’s recently announced initiative to achieve greater output and faster turnaround times for their dollars spent.” He added, “AAR is excited to promote this innovative partnership to all areas of government to highlight the benefits of utilising commercial aftermarket solutions to meet military requirements.” AAR’s engineered approach seamlessly delivers a comprehensive solution from across its businesses that combines best practices from its industry-leading repair, engineering services and supply chain solutions, according to Nick Gross, AAR Senior Vice President of Government Solutions. “We are eager to see these aircraft delivered for service in support of the Navy and Marine Corps.”