COLEMAN ARMY AIRFIELD, Germany — The Theater Aviation Sustainment Manager-Europe recently completed two separate foreign military sales missions as part of its reimbursable FMS program.
"We execute foreign military sales missions in addition to our regular mission of aircraft maintenance," explained Lt. Col. Tildon "Kye" Allen, commander of the TASM-E. "Our FMS operations include executing maintenance on aircraft that have been sold by the U.S. military to other governments as part of the foreign military sales program."
The first FMS mission involved maintenance on two AH64 Apache helicopters on behalf of the Dutch military. "We performed extensive maintenance on the aircraft for the Netherlands," explained Fabriel Ortiz, TASM-E deputy commander. "The Dutch military personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan for an extended period of time, and the Netherlands military didn't have any personnel to perform Apache maintenance, and they contacted us asking if we would conduct the maintenance for them."
The reimbursable program is actually a win-win situation for both the TASM-E and foreign governments. The TASM-E has all of its work funded, and the foreign governments are able to get world-class maintenance on their equipment. The Dutch military had previously purchased the Apaches through the FMS program. "Because the Apaches were already owned by the Dutch military, the government of the Netherlands will reimburse us directly for the aircraft maintenance," Ortiz said.
The TASM-E also performed work in support of an FMS mission for Tunisia, albeit under slightly different circumstances. "Tunisia purchased three UH-1H Hueys from the U.S. Government under the FMS program," Ortiz explained. "Part of the FSM agreement is that the U.S. will refurbish any aircraft sold to another government. We received the three UH-1Hs that were purchased by the government of Tunisia and completely refurbished them. They were torn down, inspected and then reassembled to U.S. standards. Only when they are maintained to U.S. military standards will they be delivered to Tunisia."
Because Tunisia had not taken ownership of the aircraft, they are not responsible for the costs incurred during maintenance. "The U.S. State Department will reimburse us for the work on the Tunisian aircraft because the maintenance performed was part of the purchase agreement," Ortiz said.
The TASM-E is responsible for aviation maintenance, reset and limited depot activity for the European theater of operations.