It may surprise some to know that operators of military hardware often face the same complications as their civil colleagues when sourcing spare components for ongoing maintenance.
Where do you find track links for a main battle tank or brake components for an F/A-18 Classic Hornet fighter jet, long after those supplied with the initial purchase are life expired? For the Australian Defence Force, the answer is MA Spares.
Queensland based Military and Aviation (MA) Spares has supported defence and defence prime contractors for more than a decade, providing replacement parts across the spectrum of military equipment from aircraft and helicopters to soldier systems, armoured vehicles, warships and guided weapons. The sheer variety of parts sourced and supplied seems limitless.
“On a weekly basis we supply critical spare parts to defence that range from aircraft brakes and flight controls to M113 track wheels, to engine spare parts fitted to Australian warships,” said MA Spares managing director Steve Drinkwater. “We also supply a lot of hardware, nuts, bolts and rivets, along with consumables like paint, sealants and chemicals to defence and defence primes.”
MA Spares’ North Ipswich head office is sited close to RAAF Base Amberley. It is the hub for all customer relations, requests for quotes and purchase orders from Australian and overseas customers.
MA also has a wholly-owned US subsidiary in Seattle, Washington State, which deals with American Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS) and handles US export regulations, including the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
“Customers within Australia include the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) who support, and in most cases are the procurement agency for the Air Force, Army and Navy, several defence maintenance contractors and commercial customers,” Drinkwater said. MA Spares also serves customers in South East Asia, including the Royal Malaysian Air Force and Philippines Air Force.
“This variation in our customer base allows the company to understand the stringent regulatory requirements governing the supply and use of aeronautical product and military materiel.”
MA Spares also handles aircraft life support and ground support equipment and has several exclusive distributorships including Mahindra (OEM for the GA Airvan and Nomad aircraft), GEC aircraft and heavy vehicle weight scales and Sun Aero (Aerowing) for aircraft fuel leak detection equipment.
“We’re always looking for new OEMs, particularly overseas companies that need a local company to market and distribute their product in to Defence in Australia,” Drinkwater said.
The company’s ability to deliver was recognised with a Supplier Excellence Award from Boeing Defence Australia in December 2014.