Soldier recognised the need for speed

26 January 2024

Australia Day

Approval of the UH-60M Black Hawk acquisition for Army, a process typically spanning three to four years, was completed in less than 12 months, resulting in a Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineer (RAEME) aviation officer receiving a Conspicuous Service Medal.

Lieutenant Colonel Meng Wang, of Aviation Command, led the capability management team of the multi-billion-dollar project to replace Army’s fleet of MRH-90 Taipans.

With the compressed timeframes increasing the project’s complexity he had to rapidly cultivate relationships across government agencies.

“The process involved the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade and various ambassadors,” Lieutenant Colonel Wang said.

“We weren't directly involved in every detail, but strategically considered all these elements when planning the sequence of announcements.”

One challenge was adhering to the demanding schedule of producing the same volume of work and documentation associated with larger projects, but within a reduced timeframe.

He attributed the project’s success to the small but excellent team from Army and the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.

Regarding leadership, Lieutenant Colonel Wang said mentoring and investing in the team by empowering them with the skills and knowledge needed was paramount.

“It's all about your people. I think that's probably the key to success, regardless of the complex acquisition processes,” Lieutenant Colonel Wang said.

“Building a great team and developing the external relationships really helps to smooth the waters when there's friction.”

Lieutenant Colonel Wang said the addition of Black Hawks aims to provide Army with a robust utility helicopter capability that would support Army for the next 25 years.



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