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By Maj. Micah Walker
The Defense Contract Management Agency’s International team recently rolled out the final F-18 aircraft from its DCMA America’s Quebec contractor facilities, completing a five year depot-level maintenance effort in support of U.S. Marine Corps fleet readiness.
The maintenance contract, first awarded to industry counterpart L3 Mas in 2016, returned a total of nine jets back to the Marine’s fleet, extending the aircraft service life and enabling their use as training aircraft for the next generation of Marine pilots.
The successful joint-service program office contract highlighted the opportunity to improve readiness, strengthen diplomatic relations, and create industrial capacity and confidence on future U.S. government contracts in Canada.
While U.S. military readiness served as the program’s focus, DCMA Americas’ personnel like Quality Assurance Specialist Daniel Siani, also gained valuable aircraft experience throughout the process.
“It is a little bittersweet,” Siani said. “Of course, it is exciting to complete the work, but this program was the professional reason I came to Canada. It provided me the opportunity to impact a program in ways I might not otherwise be able to in a stateside contract management office.”
Having arrived in July 2020, Siani was involved in the final six aircraft delivered while navigating strict Quebec provincial COVID-19 policies. Siani coordinated with the DCMA Aircraft Integrated Maintenance Operations office in Waco, Texas, to creatively conduct some aspects of his quality assurance role challenged by pandemic protocols.
Leveraging the full complement of quality assurance techniques available in agency policy and through virtual capabilities, Siani was able to ensure schedules remained on track in the face of challenging conditions, crediting his relationship with the contractor for the minimal impacts on the program.
“Coming in, I was concerned as a new team member,” he said. “But they valued my experience and perspective, and we built a relationship based on trust. I feel that enabled success through the program’s conclusion.”
Conveniently, the final F-18 delivery could not have come at a better time as DCMA Americas moves toward standing up a new facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to support Marine Corps C-130 avionics upgrades.
DCMA Americas’ Technical Operations Director Susan Pierchala said, “The success of our F-18 program, just one project in our growing aviation portfolio, developed individual skills sets and set conditions for success in our C-130 program in Canada.”
With the completed assignment in the books, Siani looks forward to the next opportunity supporting DCMA efforts in Canada.
“This experience has made me a more rounded quality assurance specialist and has given me the confidence to pursue cross-functional opportunities in locations I may not have considered before this assignment,” he said. “I know it will prove helpful as we stand up operations in Halifax.”
Click here to learn more about DCMA Americas C-130 efforts in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
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