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News | March 16, 2022

Tube assembly contracts expand supplier base, provide inventory for Air Force

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation recently awarded contracts to two suppliers that will more than double the number of TF33 tube assemblies available to meet demand from  Air Force engineering operations.

Long-term contracts for 52 additional TF33 tube assemblies were awarded to small business contractors Parts Life Incorporated and Tomco Machining Inc. Feb. 2022. The contract additions were added in stages; 38 were awarded at the beginning of January, and 52 were awarded in February. The total number of assemblies under long-term contracts brought the total to 90.

TF33 tubes are the consumable metal tubing and metal tube assemblies used in the aircraft engine for a number of purposes, including fuel delivery, fire suppression and drain lines.

The tubes project was established to develop additional sources and create competition for these tube assemblies. PLI will provide 13 items for a five-year contract value of $1.5 million, and Tomco will provide 77 items for a five-year contract value of $7.1 million. 

Jason Elliott, chief of the Contracting Division in the Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate at DLA Aviation, said creating competition helps expand the supplier base, creating an avenue for better parts availability.

“Competition also leads to cost reduction over time. As more suppliers are qualified to produce these parts, they compete for the business, which leads to a better overall price for the government.” Elliott said.

As a timesaving measure, once the ‘heavy’ source approval requests, known as SARS, packages for the most complex parts are approved, the contractors will be able to submit modified SARs for subsequent, less complex items.

“SARs were required for all of the tubes as these were once restricted/sole-source.  The SAR is required to approve the new manufacturing source.  5 of the tubes (the most complex) required a Heavy SAR package,” said Elliot. “Once a manufacturer passes the heavy SAR for one of the five most complex parts, the company could be considered for award for any of the lesser complex parts.  After the parts were awarded, a light SAR is required for anything else that was awarded to the new manufacturer.”

The modified SAR offers a streamlined acquisition process that mitigates some of the administrative, cost, and time aspects of processing SARs.

“The main avenue of savings is with respect to administrative lead-time savings,” Elliott said. “Currently, administration-lead time is 75 days, on average.  By adding these items to long-term contracts, we reduce administrative-lead time to 15 days from 75.”