U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Security Assistance Management Directorate recently completed a major diversion with the Commonwealth of Australia.

“A diversion means that two aircraft were slated for the U.S. Army,” said Susan Williams, a SAMD logistics management specialist “Usually the aircraft are put on contract and then provided to the customer once their aircraft are ready from production. In this case, the aircraft came from U.S. Army stock. In certain circumstances the Army agrees to divert [its] aircraft to foreign customers.”

AMCOM SAMD worked with members of the Defense Security Assistance Enterprise to coordinate the delivery of two CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the Australia Defense Force.

The initial contact, processing and delivery of the helicopters all occurred within 90 days.

A CH-47 Chinook helicopters arrives at Dover Air Force Base in June.
A CH-47 Chinook helicopters arrives at Dover Air Force Base in June. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Rumors swirled for about a year prior to the forthcoming official letter of request,” Williams said. “As a team, we understood that the CH-47F was a valued program for the ADF and there was a desire to have more if timelines and finances aligned.”

Williams stated that SAMD requested advanced warning of an LOR to give as much time as possible for preparations if another diversion was being considered.

“We understood from our previous diversion with Australia that this request could possibly come in with a very tight timeline due to the country’s yearly fiscal requirements,” said Williams.

As previously mentioned, this was not the first time they’ve conducted a swift diversion with Australia – the last one was completed in 2016.

“The Commonwealth of Australia requested a price and availability quote in June 2015 and we received an official LOR [in] October 2015,” said Williams. “The timeline was tight for this first diversion, but it was a little longer from the current efforts. We delivered three CH-47F aircrafts in June 2016. It was considered a one-of-a-kind success story with delivery completed 120 days from case implementation.”

According to Williams, the compressed timeline seemed daunting at first since the requested timeframe was shorter than anyone had ever been able to complete.

“It was a lot of team work with help from multiple commands, especially the country program manager and U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, who dropped everything to help us make this successful.”

Williams expressed that, due to the team’s ability to use existing frameworks from their previous experience, they were confident that the diversions could be completed in an unprecedented amount of time.

“Once the LOR was received, work began immediately using the previous diversion as a template to be more efficient and keep our SAMD team on track,” said Williams. “Coordination with multiple commands also began immediately in order to develop the letter of acceptance as quickly as possible – as well as provide all necessary documentation for congressional notification. The process for the CN was our highest risk with unknown timelines for receiving approvals. Our team provided all CN documentation to USASAC within eight business days, which allowed the CN to be submitted to DSCA within a week of receiving the LOR. Our office, SAMD, expedited the case writing and with the help of multiple commands and we were able to complete the LOA within 16 days.”

Williams went on to state that extensive efforts were made in the development and execution of this case, which included congressional notification documents, diversion documents, a sole source memo, non-recurring cost waiver, shipping documents, bill of ladings, technical assistance center request, AMCOM transportation request, requisition requests and coordination between multiple commands for all time-sensitive, significant efforts prior to case implementation. Additionally, they coordinated with AMCOM Logistics Center for wash post of shipments to ensure financial billing would take place prior to June 30, which was a requirement for Australia.

Wash posts provide proof of shipment and ownership for the customer. Williams explained. “Once it has transferred ownership to the customer and ALC posts this, it flows through the billing system and final-bills the customer.”

“Successful writing, development, implementation, execution, delivery and financial billing were completed in an expeditious timeframe,” said Williams. “Both the country program manager and USASAC were instrumental partners in the success of this program.”

To complete this mission, Williams mentioned that there was an incredible amount of coordination among each branch and level of the U.S. government. She went on to state that they were constantly in contact with multiple commands from development through billing.

“It was an immense team effort that only speaks to the hard work of each team involved and the dedication we have to our customer,” said Williams.