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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Sustainment as a small biz opportunity

During Mark Teskey’s presentation on small business opportunities at the Air Force, he briefly spoke about the small business opportunity in sustainment.

Teskey, director of small business for the Air Force, spoke at the ACQUIRE Show Wednesday. He said that the Air Force is keeping its air fleet flying longer and longer.

He talked about how the F-16 is based on 1970s technology. The B-52 is even older. The B-1 is from the 1980s and the stealth bomber, the B-2, is from the 1990s.

All of them probably have a couple more decades of life left in them.

The "in" for small businesses is to bring cheaper, quicker innovative solutions. He told the story of how the Air Force needed to replace an avionics unit on an aircraft. A large aerospace company came in with a retrofit that would have taken a few years and a couple hundred million dollars.

But a small business came in with unique solution: Replace the fan blade with a new design that could be 3-D printed. The result was cheaper and quicker.

That was one of his main pieces of advice for small businesses – talk about how you can save money, increase effectiveness and bring your past performance and experience. Then you talk about your specific technologies and solutions.

Teskey’s comments on small business and sustainment jumped out at me today after I read a press release from Lockheed Martin about Denmark’s decision to buy 27 F-35 fighters.

The new fighters will replace the current fleet of F-16s, but Denmark said it will continue to use the F-16 through 2024. By then, it’ll only be a 50-year-old platform.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 10, 2016 at 7:50 AM


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