Archive for the ‘MRO’ Category

Airman’s Innovation Saves Time, Money

Sunday, August 28th, 2022

RAF MILDENHALL, United Kingdom (AFNS) —

Thousands of hours are spent each year removing and installing a boom cover on a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft – hours that could be used elsewhere. One 100th Maintenance Squadron Airman has invented a new boom cover tool that has the potential to save the U.S. Air Force 40,000 man-hours and approximately $1 million per year.

“I noticed as soon as I got to Mildenhall that removing and installing the boom cover was tedious and time consuming,” said Airman 1st Class Jacob Helzer, 100th MXS hydraulics maintenance journeyman. “Removing the cover the conventional way involves calling the Aerospace Ground Equipment backshop for an aircraft stand and requires two Airmen and a substantial amount of time.”

The current conventional method hinders daily operations, whereas the innovative solution Helzer created is easier, takes less time and lessens the impact on the flow of operations.

“One of the maintenance crew chiefs reached out because he knew I enjoy 3D printing and design and believed I could come up with a solution for the boom cover,” Helzer said. “I then came up with a prototype for a tool that could make the process much smoother.”

Tech Sgt. Steven Jakubowski said Helzer is always looking for ways to innovate and constantly asking questions to gain further knowledge. 

“He spent a lot of his free time, outside of work, designing the boom cover tool,” Jakubowski said. 

Helzer, using his skill and knowledge with 3D printing, created a prototype called the “Boom Cover Tool.” The tool was manufactured with Helzer’s 3D printer and resembles a butterfly net on the end of a retractable pole with a hoop mechanism that tightens and loosens the net covering on the opposite end. 

“Once I created the prototype, I brought it to my section and tested it out,” Helzer said. “A 30-minute job became a one-minute job with the Boom Cover Tool.” 

The Boom Cover Tool greatly reduces the number of man-hours needed every time a cover needs to be removed or installed on an aircraft and the cover itself better protects the boom pod during adverse weather conditions. 

Each Boom Cover Tool costs roughly $200 to produce. 

“The projected savings were calculated by him and I while submitting for Spark Tank by using the 2021 comptroller document for wages,” Jakubowski said. 

“I did the math and the projected savings for the Air Force if they utilized the Boom Cover Tool for the entirety of the refueling fleet would be approximately $1 million and potentially 40,000 man-hours annually,” Helzer added. 

In order to meet this goal, Helzer has been collaborating with the MXS fabrication flight to produce the test prototypes for each aircraft here. 

“Once we have everything streamlined, we can move into the beta testing phase, which is roughly six months, then move on to scaling up for the entire KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft fleet,” Helzer said. 

Moving forward, Helzer plans on developing a batch of tools for the local KC-135 fleet to prove the design concept. Helzer would then like to contract the fabrication of a final, more durable prototype and share the Boom Cover Tool throughout the entire fleet and modify the design to be adopted for other variations of refueling aircraft. 

“Helzer has been a go-getter from the moment he arrived on station and is always hungry to learn all aspect of his job, and his critical thinking skills are some of the bests I’ve ever seen,” Jakubowski said. 

Helzer has always been motivated to improve himself and the way things are done at his job, and one example of this is the Boom Cover Tool. 

“This is how change starts, by questioning the way we do things and coming up with a solution that will benefit Airmen at all levels,” Helzer said. “I created the Boom Cover Tool to make the lives of my Wingmen easier and inspire Airmen to devise and implement new ideas to help improve even the simplest tasks.” 

By Airman 1st Class Alvaro Villagomez, 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

109th AW Modernizes LC-130 for Future Fight

Tuesday, April 5th, 2022


LC-130 Hercules aircraft will have a smoother takeoff from Antarctica and Greenland thanks to the 109th Maintenance Squadron. 

Propulsion specialists with the 109th assembled the first Air National Guard-built T56 3.5 turbo engine. The 3.5 modification is part of an Air Force initiative to update C-130 aircraft. 

The 109th’s engine is the first to be assembled in-unit by Airmen. 

This 3.5 engine is the finishing piece to modernizing the 109th’s legacy fleet into a more powerful and eco-friendly force. 

Operating the Defense Department’s only ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft, the 109th MXS deploys annually to the austere environments of Greenland and Antarctica in support of the National Science Foundation. 

Occasionally, the aircraft have trouble taking off from icy surfaces of these areas of operation due to heavy cargo loads or friction lock under the skis. 

Traditionally, jet-assisted takeoff bottles are used to create extra thrust to get the aircraft off the snow or ice and into the air. JATO production, however, officially stopped in 1991. 

Maj. Jim Roth, 109th MXS commander, explained the increasing challenges using JATO. 

“They are depleting, and every time we use them, we have to shoot eight off at a time, and it begins to present a real logistical concern when it comes to the decreasing supply,” Roth said. 

The new T56-8-15A 3.5 engines, combined with the LC-130H’s NP2000 eight-bladed propellers, are the answer to beginning to shift away from JATO bottles. 

“The updated features allow the aircraft to create the same thrust as JATO bottles but at lower operating temperatures, making them more eco-friendly,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Candido, a propulsion specialist with the 109th. “We’re looking at an efficiency of about 20 percent more fuel efficiency compared to the 3.0 engine.” 

The aircraft will also be able to carry heavier cargo loads to remote polar regions. 

“We are the only heavy airlift able to reach these remote polar camps. These new engines allow for greater range and capacity. We’re advancing the Arctic Strategy that much more,” Roth said. “It’s the expertise and abilities of 109th Airmen like Jason Candido that drive us forward.” 

Candido, who has been at the 109th for more than 10 years, was one of the Airmen who assembled the new engine. 

“This is the exact same engine that we’ve been using for years. Just the internals are different,” Candido said. “The updated engine uses different types of metal in the turbine and compressor that have better heat retention, giving us the same power at lower temperatures.” 

Assembling the 3.5 engine is a two-person job that took approximately a month to complete, he said. 

“This is exactly what the National Guard is all about. It’s about retaining key talent and having an experienced workforce. Bringing that to the table allows us to do this stuff,” Roth said. 

“For me, there’s a lot of pride in putting this engine together,” Candido said. “A lot of people just look at the engine, but I look at my work. It’s like art.” 

The improved engines will also cut down on frequent maintenance and inspection. 

When the LC-130Hs finished the transition from four to eight-bladed propellers in 2018, Candido said there was a noticeable difference in maintenance time. 

“Whenever we had a seal leak in Antarctica, you couldn’t replace that one blade. You had to do the entire process to put a brand new one back on,” Candido said. 

The eight-bladed propellers, however, are designed for a simpler fix in the event of a seal leak. 

“We went from having an engine with a day-and-a-half downtime to maybe two hours, and then it’s flying again,” Candido said. 

The 109th propulsion shop has the approval to assemble the rest of the 3.5 engines, some in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Members from the 109th MXS will attend a conference at the end of March to discuss a timeline to outfit all LC-130Hs with the 3.5 engines. 

“We are plowing ahead with our own builds to help supplement the force. We are building ours quickly, so we’re ready to go as soon as possible,” Roth said.

By SSgt Madison Daquelente, 109th Air Wing Public Affairs

Cyberlux BrightEye System

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

The BrightEye System by Cyberlux is the Primary Tactical Maintenance & Emergency Lighting System for Army National Guard Aviation and has been used extensively CONUS/OCONUS for readiness, disaster and combat sustainment operations. The National Guard Bureau chose the BrightEye System and it has been distributed via the four Theatre Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Groups (TASMG) to multiple units assigned to the 52 States and Territories within the Army National Guard.

• Super-Bright White and Infrared Solid-State Tactical Lighting System

• Militarized, All-Terrain and Rain Ready / Setup in 2 Minutes

• Over 16+ Hours Run Time On High; AC Powered Option

• Each System delivers 1100 foot-candles at 15ft target, 20X typical lighting

• Directed White & IR Illumination on Target Area over 1000 feet

• Infinite Brightness / Power Consumption Control

• Infinite Beam Range Control 6° to 120°

• Ball Head Mount for 360° Pan 150° Tilt

• Electronic Fuel Gauge Interface Displays Run Time

• Dual and Single Head Systems Available

• Lightweight QuadPod Adjustable Stand to 8ft

• 2CP0170 System Includes:

2 QuadPods, 

2 Light Heads, 

2 UBI Li-Ion Batteries 

Two Single Bay Chargers

Rugged Self-Contained System Case

• Total System & Carrying Case 69lb

• Wireless System Control and Operation / Simultaneous Charge & Run Capability 

Solar power system available

NSNs available on most systems

To learn more about Cyberlux and The ARG Group, check out their latest partner agreement :

For more info, contact [email protected]

MISINFORMATION: M17 Grip Module Replacement by Soldiers

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

BLUF: End user Soldiers ARE authorized to separate the receiver from the grip module.

Some folks read the -10 TM and conclude that Soldiers aren’t allowed to do this. Here’s what TM 9-1005-470-10, MHS Operator Manual says right up front in Work Package 16:

“Army only: To prevent damage to equipment, procedures in this work package should be performed by unit armorer.”

Contrast this with the Air Force guidance, which follows the above:

“Air Force only: Changing of the grip module will only be accomplished by Combat Arms qualified personnel with AFSC 3P0XXB, SEI 312, or properly qualified Civilian Equivalent Personnel.”

The source of this confusion is a general misunderstanding of key words and what they mean. Notice that the Army note uses “should,” and the Air Force note uses “will.”

Here’s the breakdown, and this applies to all Army official publications*:

“May” = Optional; acceptable means of accomplishment

“Should” = Optional; preferred method of accomplishment

“Will,” “must,” & “shall” = Non-optional; mandatory requirement

Also, the -10 Operator Manual provides 10-level operation and maintenance “with you, the user, in mind.” [from -10 TM “How to Use This Manual,” page v.] If it’s in the -10, you, the Soldier, are permitted to perform all procedures included in the TM…it’s a 10-level function, after all.

So, the bottom line is….

In the Army it’s recommended that unit armorers remove the receiver from the grip module, but not a requirement.

Meanwhile, in the Air Force the Combat Arms folks are the only ones authorized to do the same.

*Some, but not all, doctrinal references provide these definitions within the publication.

By SSG Ian Tashima, CAARNG Asst State Marksmanship Coordinator

M17 Rear Sight Installation – Updated Procedure & Torque Spec

Monday, December 27th, 2021

On 13 December 2021, instructions were made publicly available by TACOM on the PS Magazine website for M17 Rear Sight Installation. This is for maintainers.


1. Insert the loaded chamber indicator spring and loaded chamber indicator into the slide.

2. Inspect the rear sight screw, NSN 1005-01-665-4524 (PN 13067025), to see if there’s a red Nylok® patch on the first 4 threads of the screw.

Note: Perform steps 3 and 4 for screws with a Nylok® patch.

3. Thoroughly clean the screw and rear sight threads to clear away excess Nylok® or Loctite®.

4. Apply one drop of Loctite 243, NSN 8030-01-620-3313, to the interior threads of the rear sight.

Note: Perform step 5 for one-piece rear sight installation.

5. Install the rear sight plate assembly onto the slide.

Note: Perform step 6 for two-piece rear sight installation.

6. Install the rear sight plate and rear sight onto the slide.

7. Install the screw into the rear sight. Tighten the screw to 21 in-lb.

8. Back the screw out until it is loose but not completely out.

9. Tighten the screw to 34 in-lb.

10. Check the rear sight plate and rear sight to ensure they are not loose. The use of sealing compound, Loctite 243, allows reuse of the rear sight screw. The rear sight screw will no longer be a mandatory replacement part (MRP).

PS Magazine article (no credentials required – open source):

TACOM Message (credentials required):

– SSG Ian Tashima, CA Asst State Marksmanship Coordinator

TNVC Teams with L3Harris as the First Factory Authorized Spare / Repair Parts Distributor for Night Vision Equipment

Monday, December 20th, 2021

“Amateurs talk about tactics, professionals study logistics.” We’ve all heard it, but in the glitz and glam of influencers and social media and “tactical this” and “tactical that,” sustainment and logistics can get somewhat lost in the fray. In the rush to go out and get the newest, and latest and greatest in capabilities, technology, and products, the need to sustain our existing equipment can end up inadvertently playing second fiddle.

Though our name may be “Tactical Night Vision Company,” at TNVC we are committed to providing comprehensive support to professionals and enthusiasts alike, with cradle-to-grave support of our products and systems, from initial consultation, product selection, operational training, and of course, sustainment.

Led by professional military and law enforcement veterans, we understand the need not only to get new equipment, but to keep the equipment we already have still running and serviceable, as demonstrated in our Lifetime Limited Warranty and repair and maintenance programs, as well as being an integral part of our training and training sustainment program.

At TNVC, we’re extremely proud of our enduring strategic partnerships and relationships and the opportunities they allow, such as our relationship with L3Harris’ Integrated Vision Solutions (IVS) business. As a direct distributor for this business, we have been able to greatly expand the accessibility and availability of industry-leading technologies and capabilities such as the ATPIAL, BNVD (AN/PVS-31A), BNVD-1531, and GPNVG, including commercial sales.

We are therefore pleased to announce that we have further expanded our relationship with L3Harris IVS to become the first, Factory-Authorized Spare and Repair Parts distributor for its finished night vision products, not only making it easier to obtain equipment and capabilities, but to sustain them. To facilitate this program, we are also introducing a new Spare/Repair Parts portal on our website, making it easier and more convenient to obtain spare and repair parts for your L3Harris night vision systems than ever before!

TNVC’s new Spare/Repair Parts portal features an easy-to-use user interface, allowing users to select their system, and choose from a drop-down menu, listing available spare and repair parts, including photographs of the parts, as well as selecting color options (when applicable), displaying the part number, price, and stock status immediately, creating a seamless user experience, whether you need one part or one hundred.

The TNVC L3Harris Spare/Repair Parts Depot is currently live for the L3Harris ATPIAL (all models: ATPIAL-C, AN/PEQ-15, LA-5), with more System Portals coming online soon, including the Next Generation Aiming Laser (NGAL / MAL), BNVD-family (AN/PVS-31, BNVD-1531), GPNVG, and many others (spare and repair parts are available for all systems NOW via e-mail).

Tactics may win battles, but logistics win wars. TNVC is proud to be able to support all users with full, lifecycle sustainment of their equipment and capabilities. Government, agency, and bulk pricing is available. For more information, please contact:

[email protected]

Government Sales: [email protected]

Dealer Sales: [email protected]

ACC to Align Fighter Squadron Operations, Maintenance

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Editor’s Comment: One day, the Air Force will acknowledge that it’s actually just a big logistics organization and put logisticians in charge. Like it or not, the aircrew are the service’s “delivery drivers” ensuring that the right thing gets to the right place at the right time. That’s just part of the equation. Making sure the means of delivery and the “thing” to be delivered are ready for that in time delivery takes a lot of work and aircrew aren’t involved at all.

Sorties are generated by maintenance. This realignment and renaming of MX happens every few years based in the whims of ever-changing Ops leadership. It’s all been tried before, over and over. It never really changes anything except causing turmoil for MX leaders. Wrenches still get turned and sorties generated.


Air Combat Command is changing the aircraft maintenance organizational structure to improve synchronization between maintenance and fighter squadrons.

This new structure, called Combat Oriented Maintenance Organization, or COMO, flattens the maintenance organizational structure and transitions aircraft maintenance units into fighter generation squadrons.

The fighter generation squadron is a new squadron comprised of maintainers responsible for airpower health and generation. The fighter generation squadron will be paired with a complementary fighter squadron and the two units will work collaboratively both in garrison and during deployments.

“We’ve already seen success with this new organizational model at Shaw Air Force Base (South Carolina),” said Maj. Gen. Mark Slocum, ACC director of air and space operations. “The benefit of this new organizational construct is it enhances the fighter force’s agility and better prepares them for a future dynamic force employment in a high-end fight.”

Pairing fighter squadrons with a dedicated fighter generation squadron will foster unity of effort between maintenance and operations as well as provide a better view of readiness.

For the last few years, ACC has been on a wing reorganization experimentation journey and allowed commanders to experiment with various types of wing organizational constructs in order to build more agile and cohesive units.

“After gathering what we’ve learned from this season of experimentation, we are now moving forward into a season of standardization,” said Maj. Gen. Tom Miller, ACC director of logistics, engineering and force protection. “The COMO structure allows fighter wings to prepare for rapid deployments and to disaggregate and reaggregate as needed by the CFACC.”

This pairing of the fighter and a fighter generation squadron is just the first phase of a broader force presentation model ACC is building to better organize, train and equip combat air forces. Phase two will focus on evaluation of air base squadrons that can rapidly deploy and provide base operating support. Phase three examines wing command and control capabilities.

The 20 FW at Shaw AFB and 388 FW at Hill AFB, Utah are the first wings to transition to the COMO model, with the remaining ACC fighter wings transitioning by the summer of 2022.

By Headquarters Air Combat Command

Photos by SSgt Destinee Sweeney

Virtual Warfighter Expo – Otis Suppressor Cleaner and Reclaimer

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

During both SHOT Show and ADS Federal Range Day we’ve shown you the Otis Suppressor Cleaner and Reclaimer. However, we’ve received questions about how it works. Otis Technology demonstrated the device during the Virtual Warfighter Expo.

Offered in two sizes, theOSCR-1 has a basket for individual components which the larger OSCR-6 model does not. However, the OSCR-6 incorporates wheels and handles for movement, which makes sense as it is quote a bit larger. Regardless of size, the OSCR removed more than 90% of carbon, copper, and lead fouling from the suppressor’s baffles in as little as two hours.

Download the OTIS OSCR pdf here.

Units and agencies can procure all products shown during Virtual Warfighter by contacting ADS Inc.