Six UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters assigned to U.S. and Saudi Arabian forces approach the final objective during Friendship and Ironhawk 3, a two-week military-to-military exercise at the Tactical Training Center in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, April 14. Photo courtesy of New York National Guard
A newly established Saudi Arabian maintenance, repair and overhaul company has implemented Ramco Systems’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite system for its maintenance and engineering management and supply-chain/logistics planning, as well as finance and human-resources functions.
Saudi Rotorcraft Support Co. signed a five-year agreement with Ramco Systems, a global provider of aviation software on cloud and mobile platforms, in early April 2017. That pact came just as the Riyadh-headquartered MRO began operations aimed at supporting mission-critical capabilities for Saudi Arabia’s military and commercial helicopters.
“Helicopter engineering has advanced significantly in recent decades to include use of composites and higher usage of technology, including avionics,” Ramco CEO Virender Aggarwal said. “However, MRO support services have tended to lag in this development. With the rapid growth of rotary-wing aircraft in the Middle East, the need to accelerate R&D to solve urgent challenges is acute.”
A joint venture company formed in 2015 by Alsalam Aerospace Industries, Boeing and Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries, Saudi Rotorcraft Support says it can work on more than 360 helicopter types produced by six aircraft OEMs and powered by six engine manufacturers.
Saudi Rotorcraft Support positions itself as part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program and the related effort to transform the country under what is called Vision 2030, said the company’s CEO, Neil Bevan. A former leader of Boeing Defence UK’s Chinook Modifications and Upgrades, Bevan was named CEO in June.
Saudi Rotorcraft Support “aligns with these Vision 2030 objectives, particularly in the areas of localizing defense, attracting talent and creating opportunities for all,” he said. Ramco’s software “has given us a technical backbone that will help us digitally address the MRO requirements in this growing market.”
Offshore oil and gas operations in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, combined with the region’s many high-net-worth individuals and ongoing military tensions, make the Arabian Peninsula one of the world's most valuable and influential helicopter markets. Saudi Rotorcraft Support estimates there are more than 300 helicopters in Saudi Arabia, flown by nine operators.
After staff initial training in Chennai, India, Saudi Rotorcraft Support and Ramco said, they completed a one-month implementation and training period in Riyadh. Systems implementation, as well as user acceptance testing and training of “user champions,” employees and managers, followed that. Saudi Rotorcraft Support saw “Go-Live” implementation Aug. 27.
In addition to Ramco’s mobile-friendly aviation maintenance, maintenance and engineering and MRO sales modules, Saudi Rotorcraft Support plans to implement the software company’s complete finance, human resources and payroll programs with the objective of getting an integrated view of its business operations. Ramco’s Aviation Suite V5.8 is aimed at digitizing and streamlining Saudi Rotorcraft Support’s operations and aircraft management processes across its operations. Other functions include continuing airworthiness management organization, materials management and quality and safety.
Their pact also calls on Ramco to work closely with Saudi Rotorcraft Support to research and develop additional customized applications and intellectual property at its Ramco Aviation Design and Analytics Research Lab in Singapore. Ramco set up that engineering lab in early 2016 to develop advanced aviation information technology solutions (such as wearable devices for ground mechanics and drones to inspect aircraft on the tarmac), with Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance as an anchor partner. The lab’s creation was supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board.