U.S. Navy Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC) awarded a 10-year, $6.1 billion, enterprise contract vehicle to 42 small business industry partners on April 14, enabling U.S. Navy, government customers and international partners to procure aircraft maintenance services and sustainment support quicker.
Awarded 16 days ahead of schedule, the Kits, Recovery, Augmentation, Components and Engines—commonly called KRACEn—is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) multi-award contract (MAC) that will provide maintenance services and support for single satellite sites, small aircraft quantities, personnel to augment government maintenance teams, and overhaul capabilities for aircraft components and subsystems.This is COMFRC’s first, multi-billion contract award.
“The COMFRC Acquisition and Procurement Groups are building a comprehensive portfolio of enterprise contract vehicles that will allow the Navy to contract for its sustainment needs expeditiously while delivering improved outcomes,” COMFRC Executive Director Roy Harris said. “KRACEn is a direct result of the COMFRC workforce evaluating and adapting new approaches to support programs and critical Fleet requirements.”
The MAC’s scope of work, which is set aside for small-businesses, includes modification kit build and installations, recovery of downed aircraft, repair and overhaul of aircraft and components, repair and overhaul of engines, and augmentation labor supplement for maintenance where contractor custody of the aircraft is not required at both ashore and afloat sites.
The nature of the work covered by KRACEn—simple platform, organizational-level Contractor Logistic Services (CLS) requirements involving few aircraft, elemental or off-aircraft tasks—is well-suited for small businesses, according to COMFRC Acquisition Group, CLS Division Lead Chris Giggey. The CLS Division, formally known as the Fast Acquisition Solutions to Enable Readiness (FASTER) team, was charted by Naval Air Systems Command in 2018 to improve acquisition speed and quality of services by developing expertise in CLS contracting.
“Before KRACEn, program offices were responsible for the entire acquisition process for every CLS contract needed. Now expert teams take care of the acquisition documentation while assisting customers with requirements and supporting the selection of the “best value” proposals using fair opportunity procedures,” he explained.
Additionally, customers no longer have to compete each service or item separately for their communities, but instead will announce their requirement for proposal to a pool of 42 approved small business contractors. “Awardees have been pre-screened as capable,” according to Giggey. “This reduces our customers’ administrative burdens, allows them to redirect resources and supports quicker decision-making.” Most KRACEn task orders are expected to be less than $10 million.
The first task order to be awarded is in response to Deputy Commandant for Aviation (DCA) Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder request for Marine Corps F/A-18 maintenance augmentation support. With an anticipated May award, it will provide skilled augmentation labor to support and maintain Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 F/A-18 Hornets at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.
The International Sustainment Department is also interested in using the contract. “The KRACEn MAC will provide additional maintenance, repair and overhaul capability and capacity for NAVAIR’s growing International Programs portfolio, reducing the burden on the Fleet Readiness Centers,” International Sustainment Department Director Ron Weinberger said. “It is a partnership opportunity that demonstrates what is possible across Naval Aviation when stakeholders focus on a common goal.”
KRACEn is the second contract in COMFRC toolbox for Commercial Maintenance and Modification services. It is complementary to the Contracted Maintenance, Modification, Aircrew, and Related Service (CMMARS) MAC that serves as the primary vehicle for maintenance and modification of military and commercial aviation platforms including fixed-wing, rotary-wing, unmanned aerial vehicles and lighter than air vehicles as well as their related systems and weapon systems. The contract, awarded to 20 industry partners in January 2019, has an execution period of 11 years which encompasses two five-year ordering periods, including both base and option periods. It has already met emerging readiness needs for its biggest user, Naval Undergraduate Flight Training System (PMA-273), the Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) and the U.S. Air Force.
Harris said both CMMARS and KRACEn are key to establishing COMFRC as a “one-stop-shop” for commercial maintenance and modification requirements. “They are a crucial addition to our traditional organic capabilities, providing us with the means to tap into the expertise of both major and small business industry partners,” he said. “This level of comprehensive coverage, made possible by the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, is a prerequisite to speed and agility to the Fleet.”