May 3, 2021
By Jarid King
King Aerospace president
You could say that contractor logistics support – or CLS – is in our corporate DNA. You would be right.
CLS was woven into our very being in 1992 when my father, Jerry King, founded King Aerospace and secured our first CLS contract. We took over the U.S. Air Force E9 program at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida supporting information-gathering aircraft for a missile-test program. We supplied parts, maintenance technicians, mission equipment operators and engineers – and never looked back.
For three decades we’ve witnessed countless providers get into – and out of – the CLS business. We stayed and double-downed, refining our services to deliver greater and greater value. CLS is a primary focus today, which may be why we’re so passionate about it. As a U.S. military contractor and subcontractor, we view CLS responsibilities as part of our patriotic duty. CLS isn’t just a job for us. It’s a privilege, an honor and a calling. Over the years, we have gained performance-based experience supporting all branches of the military – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy/Marine Corps, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security.
It’s About the Mission
I’m proud to say that while many CLS providers average five to 10 years for contract retention, we typically keep contracts from 10 to 18 years. We also know we’re doing an outstanding job, because frequently more work comes our way. That only happens when you’re serving as a trusted, reliable partner. Because of this longevity, we’re often the stabilizing factor as military forces rotate in and out. We shepherd the new personnel as they transition in.
Serving our country’s men and women in uniform isn’t just what we do. It’s who we are. Our commitment is greater than contractual. We’re dedicated to service greater than self and are grounded by our cornerstone principles of mutual respect, honesty and trust, problem-solving, team orientation and quality in everything.
Most of the military aircraft we work with are commercial derivative aircraft not designed for a military need. We understand how to modify and maintain these aircraft for the military’s use. It’s also more cost effective for our government (and taxpayers) than building military-specific aircraft and maintaining special parts for them. Aircraft CLS programs cover a wide scope of services from field support technicians who provide maintenance at the flight line to supply-chain management. We do it all.
Meeting exacting military specifications isn’t easy, but we’ve developed processes and procedures to ensure we do. The wins happen when you have a dedicated, efficient team pulling in the same direction. The military expects MROs to meet the highest standards as they manage and maintain government-owned aircraft fleets and subcontract work from major defense contractors. It helps that the expected highest-possible quality aligns with the operations we have in place for our corporate and VVIP aircraft, including the Boeing Business Jet.
A Band of Brothers and Sisters
CLS helps ensure our military troops’ mission readiness. They can’t fly if aircraft are grounded. CLS produces a dynamic environment. You must be ready for anything, anytime. Our team rapidly deploys wherever and whenever they are needed. It’s no small thing to get parts and people into challenging environments where travel is restricted. Delivering CLS often requires operating in remote, hostile, military war environments. Hearing gunfire – or being shot at – is not unusual.
These programs are not for the faint hearted. You’re away from home, sometimes in less than ideal living conditions. It calls for dedicated, mission-focused people who believe in and practice service greater than self. It’s about doing the right thing for the right reasons with the right attitude when no one is looking.
Because many of our team members are themselves veterans, they embrace King Aerospace’s passion for God, country and family. They treat each other like brothers and sisters. Everywhere I look, I witness acts of servant leadership. They have each other’s back – and our military’s.
Positioned to Serve
Our AS9110C-certified facilities and FAA repair stations are strategically positioned at Biggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss, El Paso, TX; Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM; and Camp Humphreys, South Korea. We also operate 24/7 logistics outposts around the world, even in the most remote, hostile and harsh locations.
Gerald Torres, who heads up our team in El Paso, faced especially great challenges this past year. For a time, El Paso had the third-highest COVID-19 infection rate in the nation. At one point, our 70-plus team was down 90 percent. Our no-excuses culture and this team’s tenacity ensured all of our deliverables were met. Gerald will tell you, “We made the mission work.”
Whether we’re providing scheduled or unscheduled maintenance for special mission aircraft; performing heavy airframe and engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO); providing engineering support; or getting parts to anywhere in the world, our approach is the same. We do the job efficiently, effectively and expertly – no excuses.
Government and military customers have come to associate the King Aerospace name with work done right in a timely, value-driven manner.
Addressing Every Contingency
Specialized contractor logistics support spans air, land and sea. As a privately owned business, we’re small enough to be nimble. Our founding in 1992 demonstrates that we have been tested and proven over time. Since 2017, we’ve maintained the Army’s Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) fleet used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). These include highly modified King Air (C-12), De Havilland Canada Dash 7 (DHC-7) and Dash 8 (DHC-8) turboprop aircraft.
We’ve provided aircraft services for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) since 2019. The transportation of national security assets falls under NNSA’s Office of Secure Transportation (OST). The fleet of Boeing 737-400 and DC-9 passenger/cargo (Combi) aircraft, housed at Kirtland Air Force Base, move national security cargo to NNSA customers, support DOE emergency capabilities and transport federal-agent task forces.
Supporting Our National Well-Being
King Kulture drives the excellence of our services. Part of that is helping all team members find and follow their “why,” their internal motivation. Everyone involved in our contractor logistics support services understands their unique and valued roles. What they do each and every day, wherever they are in the world, helps ensure our troops’ readiness and America’s security, both today and tomorrow.
Sometimes our CLS services take us to some pretty sticky places. The men and women who wear the King Aerospace wings could use those challenges as an excuse, but do not. They get the job done. I consider them heroes.