Messier Services, dedicated partner of the Royal Air Force

For twenty years, Messier Services UK has ensured maintenance of the landing gear of the Royal Air Force's Tornado fleet. A new contract now prolongs this partnership.

Through the contract signed at the end of 2008, Messier-Services (SAFRAN group) prolongs its mission for the Royal Air Force (RAF) - it has managed landing gear overhaul maintenance for the RAF's multi-role Tornado military aircraft fleet for the last twenty years. In this market, Messier Services can certainly point to solid experience, as it also ensures landing gear maintenance on these aircraft for the Italian and Saudi Arabian air forces. Its expertise is all the more legitimate in that this landing gear was originally designed by Messier-Dowty (SAFRAN group), a majority shareholder in Messier Services.

A fairly complex contract structure

The previous contract, signed directly with the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), was renewable on an annual basis and only stipulated overhaul of the landing gear components on request. The new contract covers a period of eight and a half years, with an option to extend up to 2025, the planned date of the aircraft's withdrawal from service. “This contract calls on the services of four companies”, explains Rick Morris, the Messier Services UK sales manager. “In fact, British Aerospace Systems is the prime contracting party, with Messier Services as service provider. But EADS signs the purchase orders and invoices, as the group is responsible to the constructor - the European consortium Panavia - for the design and supply of the entire landing system”. This means the contract is based on the relationship between the four partners.

Made-to-measure service

Messier Service ensures the maintenance of the systems of the RAF's 134 aircraft. Some of these aircraft are in operation overseas, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The contract stipulates the annual overhaul of a set number of parts of the four principal components of the landing gear: front and principal landing gear, shock absorbers (representing the most sensitive part) and ground steering system power units. The turn around time necessary for the overhaul of parts is defined contractually, varying in from 8 to 12 weeks depending on the component type and its complexity. For Messier Services, this contract ensures defined and constant load plan, enabling the military unit at the Gloucester plant to operate at full capacity at least up to 2016.