More "vertical" and more global MOC contracts, single, industrial project managers and creation of the DMAť (Aeronautical maintenance department) are just some of the measures that were announced by France's Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly in Evreux on 11th December at the launch of the aviation MOC transformation plan. Among the measures in question is the revision of maintenance contracts for certain helicopter fleets. Changes are also due to come in a few months' time with "pilot projects", in particular within the French Army Light Aviation.
According to our information, the Army light aviation has offered the DMAť complete outsourcing of support for the Fennec fleet, covering 18 helicopters, intended to train crews. This would be a complete support contract, with Army light aviation keeping hold of operations to implement the helicopters only. The industrial partner is not yet known; the contract is still being negotiations, but Army light aviation is hoping to finalise it by the end of 2018.
This type of contract will need civilian personnel to be assigned full-time to the base for the maintenance operations - like the contract signed by the French Navy with Sabena Technics for the Guardian fleet in New Caledonia. One of its advantages would be to be able to "recover" some of the mechanics assigned to the helicopters, in order to transfer personnel to fleets considered more "critical".
One other project which will go hand in hand with this outsourcing is the potential transfer of part of the fleet to Eastern France, to be flown on tactical support, liaison, reconnaissance or flying command station missions or to "provide animation" during exercises.
While the Fennec fleet enables this "removal of barriers", it's not possible on other types of aircraft, such as the Tigre. Outsourcing support could also be seen as option for the end of life of the Puma - which has not been confirmed as yet.