HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah After a six-year run, the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, and specifically the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, completed an F-16 modification line known as the 3 Amigos.
The program primarily consisted of three structural Time Compliance Technical Order modifications and incorporated concurrent electrical modifications that included updates to the center display unit, helmet mounted integrated targeting, and beyond line-of sight communication.
The first F-16 modified was completed in March 2013. At the height of production, 18 aircraft were on the line at one time and the modifications were also added to 24 foreign military sales aircraft for the Indonesian Air Force. In total, more than 300 F-16s received the modification.
With an aging F-16 fleet, the 573rd AMXS endured many unknown conditions, driving the organization to perform an estimated 14 successful continuous process improvement events.
At the beginning of the program, technicians were blending bulkhead radii by hand with emery cloth, which was labor intensive and time consuming. Eventually, they turned to engineers to develop a mechanical blending fixture that saved technicians a substantial amount of time.
During the life of the program, the workload evolved from inspecting and doing minor repairs at an average of 1,795 hours to more elaborate repairs that included replacing bulkhead segments, which increased the average hours by 59 percent to 2,863 hours. On one aircraft, structural TCTO inspections drove as many as five bulkhead changes, eight stainless steel doubler fitting installs, and two wing changes.
Even with the increase in repair hours, by using ‘Art of the Possible’ methodology improvements, the total number of days to complete each aircraft was reduced by 525 days over the last 60 jets – 313 days better than the first 60 jets completed.
With the completion of the program, the Ogden ALC enabled a substantial number of F-16 aircraft to fly for many more years in support of the warfighter.