Enhanced Focus on Military MRO: Drake Air’s Response to Industry Changes

December 13, 2021

Enhanced Focus on Military MRO: Drake Air’s Response to Industry Changes

Headshot of Stephen Pollard  By Stephen Pollard, Vice President of Business Development at AMETEK MRO

If there’s one thing we’ve learned these last two years, it’s that “the only constant in life is change.” We’ve been experiencing lots of change recently: COVID-19 related travel restrictions that directly impacted the aerospace industry, global supply chain disruptions, and even difficulty recruiting talent as our business grows. But change is nothing new to the aerospace industry - we’ve evolved time and time again.

At Drake Air, we’ve come from modest entrepreneurial beginnings that have served our commercial and military customers well. We’ve frequently adapted throughout the years to keep up with the changes our industry faced with investments in people, technology, and process.Most recently, we’ve announced our enhanced focus on military and defense capabilities expansion. But these changes don’t happen overnight. So how did we do it? 

Pivot with the changes you see in the world

I have always been interested in aviation and the aerospace industry because it is a global businessThe ability to reach every geography and culture with cutting edge technology is simply fascinating. During my 24 years in the aviation industry, one of the biggest changes I’ve experienced has been the lifecycle and evolution of Third-Party MRO component overhaul facilities. We’ve watched many of the traditional platforms reach their sunset. At Drake Air, we took a step back to reflect on our core products; heat exchangersprecoolersoil coolersfuel heaters and other heat transfer components. We challenged ourselves to visualize opening new doors in other areas of the industry, while building on the success of our core platforms and markets. In our case, it was a logical pivot to focus on the military industry. Military platforms offer attractive volumes, the market is mature in its life cycle, and it’s an industry where we can present customers with something unique, including our innovative experience in repair and manufacturing development.

Understand what differentiates you from competitors

What makes you different? Why would a customer choose your brand over the dozens, if not hundreds of competitors out there? For us at Drake Air, voice of customer (VoC) surveys demonstrated the fact that our customers valued our culture. We designed our service model by addressing our customers’ needs such as quick turnaround times, flexibility, and responsive solutions. And we all know that a positive customer experience encourages repeat business. Sure, there are Third-Party MROs that can do what we do, but we’re confident that no one does it the way that we do it. That’s been the key to our success and longevity in the industry, especially as we grow in the military sector.

Discover how you can become a disruptor

Once we were confident that military and defense was our next focus as the AMETEK MRO division, and us at Drake Air, we knew we had to create a strategy that would enable us to be a disruptor to the market. With our MRO mentality of service, we quickly became a disruptor to the OEMs. While OEMs have played in the military industry space for many years, our team brings a new perspective during a crucial time in history. We live in a time where customers want to save money more than ever before – we can help you do exactly that. Why replace a component when you can repair it for the same quality at a fraction of the price? The traditional OEM aftermarket strategy of selling a spare with high cost and long lead time doesn’t benefit the customer when it comes to supporting airframes that are 20+ years old.  Our strategy is to be your non-OEM player in the market while offering the same military capability around people, process, and technology as the traditional OEMs.

When you reflect on the impact COVID-19 has had on the aerospace industry, it’s easy to get discouraged. Picking up the pieces and reinventing yourself is key. The Drake Air team, and entire AMETEK MRO division, is excited about this growing chapter in the military and defense market. We know that responsiveness and speed wins, so we have added a sales team specific to the military segment and made our team and services easily accessible through a new military section on our website. There you’ll find a full list of capabilities, platforms served, contact form, as well as a full list of trade shows and in-person events to meet with our team.

Look for us at upcoming 2022 trade shows under the AMETEK MRO Defense brand, which reflects all of AMETEK MRO’s military and defense capabilities, including Drake Air and more.

I hope to see you face-to-face soon. Until then, let’s get in touch if you’re interested in learning more about our capabilities in military and defense. Send me a message on LinkedIn or contact our team by sending an email to mrodefense@ametek.com.

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