HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The 576th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron – the newest unit in the Ogden Air Logistics Complex 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group – celebrated its first birthday in March.
Known as the Production Support Squadron, the unit’s 280 civil service Airmen are charged with providing on-site depot-level maintenance support for A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-130 Hercules, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
The squadron also deploys depot field teams in support of F-16 and A-10 customers and over the past year the squadron’s Machine, Fabrication and Corrosion Control shops have deployed 72 members in support of 32 deployments to 15 locations worldwide.
Squadron machine shop technicians are responsible for the repair of F-16 wing attachment fitting bushings and A-10 gun and drum mounts with the average repair taking between two and three days, which can only be performed by highly skilled depot machinists using precision tooling.
Many of the specifications require the machinist to maintain tight tolerances within a few ten-thousandths of an inch. And maintaining these tolerances in the field is nothing short of an impressive feat.
Warfighter support is an ongoing goal within the fabrication shop where technicians perform multiple repairs to aircraft skin and panels.
Performed during major aircraft structural overhaul or modifications and classified as a depot-level repair, the shop’s most complicated tasks during deployments, are high-tech tubing swage splice repairs to high-pressure fuel and hydraulic lines on A-10, C-130, F-16, F-22, and F-35 aircraft for fuel and hydraulic lines that were never designed for removal.
Utilizing a specialized process with cryogenic fittings and forming a leak-proof seal with liquid nitrogen, the system lines are returned to a like-new status.
Additionally, the Corrosion Control Flight is responsible for teams of two aircraft painters who recently deployed to perform F-16 radar absorbing material, or RAM, intake repairs at two Pacific Air Force bases.
The RAM application requires expert-level skills and most technicians require many years of experience to become proficient.
During the deployments, members completed the repairs and simultaneously trained the active duty Airmen at the locations to eliminate extended down time of future assets.
Ultimately, the squadron’s goal is serving their customers by deploying skilled technicians from the depot that creates a win-win situation for everyone involved.