AMMROC: Paradigm Shift in Aviation Sustainment

Hareb Thani Al Dhaheri, Acting CEO, AMMROC, takes us through the trajectories of its growth as one of the world’s very few third-party MRO service providers capable of managing a fleet-wide Performance Based Logistics programme, and now evolving as the anchor military MRO entity in the UAE, fulfilling the needs of UAE Armed Forces and regional operators. Excerpts from the interview:

AMMROC is planning to move beyond military, which potentially could see it enter the civil aerospace MRO market in the future. Gulf air carriers are the largest in the world and AMMROC has sufficient resources and crews for in-house maintenance

Hareb Thani Hareb Al Dhaheri has been the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 2020. As a retired Brigadier and Pilot with the UAE Armed Forces, he has amassed more than 30 years of experience in military aviation. Hareb is deeply committed to leading the growth of this region’s expanding aviation industry and is now responsible provides strategic and operational oversight for all business functions at AMMROC.

Over the last one decade, AMMROC has become one of the world’s very few third-party MRO service providers capable of managing a fleet-wide Performance Based Logistics programme. Could you share with us the major highlights of this success journey?

AMMROC has supported the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force and Air Defence (AF&AD) and the Joint Aviation Command (JAC), with nose to tail maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in airframes, engines, and components through a stringent Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) programme for seven plus years. The PBL contract enabled the UAE Armed Forces to streamline processes and optimise manpower by remaining focused on the operation of their aircraft, while AMMROC provided full logistics, maintenance and repair services. Under this model, all material and maintenance activity are provided under a cost per flight hour that provides greater flexibility to the UAE Armed Forces, while facilitating ongoing efficiency improvements.Highlights over this time have included the growth of the employment opportunities within the UAE from a company of 300 to over 3500 personnel, the first ever Mirage 2000 P+ inspection maintenance program undertaken on the Mirage fleet within the UAE, undertaking the armed BLACK HAWK weaponisation program for JAC, the AFAD C-130 Avionics Modification Program (AMP) and the completion of the new state-of-the-art MRO facility in Al Ain are among some of the many achievements AMMROC has delivered over the course of the last 10 years.

Beginning in mid-2020, AMMROC made a pivot to strategically focus on our core strengths of providing depot level maintenance solutions within the UAE and the wider region. As the company transitions through to a renewed focus on depot level support, leveraging our new dedicated depot facility in Al Ain, we are able to utilize other EDGE assets within the Mission Support cluster such as GAL and HORIZON to provide total solutions to current and future customers.

AMMROC’s new MRO facility at Al Ain (MRO AA) is touted as comprehensive aviation sustainment centre dedicated to ensure depot level MRO services to the highest quality standards. What makes the facility unique in the region?

MRO Al Ain is a  state-of-the-art facility and is among the largest centres dedicated to military MRO in the world. Developed and built as one project, the one-square-kilometre facility is uniquely positioned adjacent and directly connected to the Al Ain International Airport.

The AMMROC MRO Centre now offers increased hangarage space, dedicated paint and strip capabilities, and provides a universal industrial capability to service a wide variety of aircraft both fixed and rotary. The new facility has over 30+ support shops, inclusive of dedicated Hydraulic, Fuel and Electromechanical test and repair capabilities, an adaptable PTS capability and advanced machining, special processes, structures, NDI and CMM capabilities. The new facility was designed to cater forfuture, with ample open area yet to be developed for future capability expansion.

The MRO Al Aincentrehas four multi-purpose hangars, offering over 36,500 sqm of usable hangar space, including dedicated special mission hangars designed with highly sensitive project precautions in place.

The Al Ain complex features a dedicated Black Hawk nose-to-tail depot, with capability on 49 LRUs including blades and transmissions, engines, and aircraft subsystems.The facility is equipped with a dynamic whirl stand, a dedicated blade repair capability to and transmission repair shop that is powered with advanced technology, making it a first-in-the-region.

AMMROC has been executing major and minor modifications and upgrades for a variety of fixed-and rotary-wing aircraft tailored to customer requirements. Could you elaborate on the services offered and how strong a presence the modification arm of AMMROC has in the Middle East?

We execute major and minor modifications and upgrades for a variety of fixed-and rotary-wing aircraft. Solutions are tailored to customer requirements that include avionics modernisation programs, hardware and software installation and upgrade.AMMROC is also able to undertake aircraft life extension programs, routine modifications and updates, and integration of upgrades during periodic depot maintenance (PDM).AMMROC has demonstrated its ability to undertake complex modifications and upgrades such as the Black Hawk weaponisation program, structural life extensions on a number of platforms, minor design modifications and crash damage repair and aircraft battle damage repair in the field.

This is achieved through our dedicated engineering team who develop customer focused solutions andcustomised modifications that draw on our long-term OEM relationships and partnerships with certified solution providers to meet service bulletin and airworthiness directives. As a third party MRO provider, our partnerships both locally and abroad with major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and global MRO leaders is key to delivering successful modification projects. At AMMROC, we have worked with some of the world’s leading OEMS such as Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, and Dassault Aviation among many others in order to deliver highly complex solutions on time and on budget. Now, as part of EDGE, we see more opportunities to benefit from the many local companies under the EDGE umbrella where we can complement each company’s core strengths such as with GAL, Horizon and EPI to further grow the modification and upgrade opportunity. Through these local partnerships we hope to elevate both EDGE and AMMROC into a global brand.

Engine maintenance is one of the core capabilities of the company and the new engine test cell can test a wide variety of engine types. What are the major operational highlights?

AMMROC has extensive experience in engine maintenance and this includes test, inspection, repair and overhaul forturbo props,turbo fans,turbo shafts,fighter jet engines,auxiliary power units (APU),Quick Engine Change (QEC) components and accessories for maintenance inspection, overhaul, and repairs. Our new engine test cell is currently dedicated to the GE T-700 / CT7 Engine family, however the test cell can be adapted to test a wide variety of engine types such as the Honeywell T-55, Pratt & Whitney PT6A, Rolls-Royce M-250, and SAFRAN Arriel-2/Makila 1A.Furthercapabilities range from module replacements and implementing modifications to complete piece part disassembly, repair, replacement, overhaul, re-assembly, test, and troubleshooting. Our engine repair shop complies with stringent OEM requirements and is certified by global industry standards. We are the first regional MRO facility to host the Engine Structural Integrity Program (ENSIP) for F-110 engines.

Could you shed some light onto your infrastructure facilities with focus on design, use of advance technologies, quality assurance etc.?

We support our customers in numerous design aspects from basic tooling to complex aircraft repairs and development. We engineer methods and special process development, static and dynamic structural analysis, fatigue and stress evaluation, crack growth propagation predictions, assessment of deviations, and independent compliance verification. AMMROC has a strategic goal of obtaining a Design Organization Approval (DOA). We follow the best practices in our maintainability and reliability services. We enable this through proven policies and processes in compliance with the Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) standards and the highest international airworthiness regulations. We ensure efficient fleet maintenance by using reliability analysis, root cause analysis (RCA), obsolescence and repetitive failures management (monitoring and resolution), predictive studies, and technical records management. We are an AS 9110-driven maintenance organisation that pursues the industry’s highest standards in quality and aerospace maintenance. We create robust quality management systems that abide by global best practices. Our team has several ongoing initiatives for optimisation, environmental improvements, and operational health and safety audits.

Last year AMMROC was fully acquired by EDGE from Lockheed Martin. Following the acquisition, what is going to be the company’s goals and objectives for the next decade?

The Joint Venture with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky over the past decade has significantly helped mature UAE skills and capabilities in the MRO industry, bringing it to an evolution point that today makes sense for EDGE to take on fully. The commercial relationships among EDGE, AMMROC, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky remain steadfast with new agreements already underway – representing progression to a new level of maturity among the parties. Our aim is to be the anchor military MRO entity in the UAE and fulfil the needs of UAE Armed Forces and regional operators by enhancing our capability and capacity at our Al Ain MRO complex. We are also planning to move beyond military, which potentially could see AMMROCenter the civil aerospace MRO marketin the future. Gulf air carriers are the largest in the world and AMMROC has sufficient resources and crews for in-house maintenance and we believe we can capitalise on it in the future.

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