ILMA Compoundings - July 2020 - 21

Department of Defense (DoD) rarely projects its needs,
usually advising vendors to watch the news for updates.
The primary drivers of military procurement decisions are
events and, especially, budgets.
Still, continuous and substantive communications with
the key technical people in the U.S. Army, Navy and Air
Force, plus regular outreach to the DoD's procurement
branch, help to assure that testing and sales proceed
smoothly and according to specs, said Damiani.
On the commercial aerospace side, Aboulafia projects
domestic recovery from the pandemic's economic effects
before international, due to "consumer habit. You're more
likely to visit family within an hour's flight or two. Or you
take a vacation at a relatively short distance rather than that
dream family vacation in Italy. International travel tends to
be more discretionary."
Aboulafia warns against expecting a quick recovery,
because the coronavirus will probably continue to hamper
airline travel. "It's more like a two-year story. People see it as
a sprint. It's really a marathon."

R&D Leads the Way Forward

Lubricants customers worldwide are seeking that perfect
marriage of performance and sustainability, and the military
is in the hunt, too, said Damiani. "There's definitely an
interest from the Army, Navy and Air Force to look at
sustainable and biodegradable fluids."
However, product development in the military realm is
complicated by the fact that most fluids are labeled "critical
application."
"None of the three branches will sacrifice performance
specifications for sustainability or biodegradable products,"
said Damiani. "If something went wrong, it would wreck
multimillion-dollar equipment and probably cost people's
lives," he said, adding that Radco is "constantly trying to
meet the military specifications, which are very stringent,
with biodegradable or sustainable raw materials, and that's
a difficult process."
The pandemic is one of two factors constraining R&D,
Aboulafia noted. Budget cuts during downturns "tend to hit
the R&D side of the house faster." Plus, the simultaneous

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ILMA Compoundings - July 2020

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ILMA Compoundings - July 2020 - 1
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ILMA Compoundings - July 2020 - 3
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