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News > Machinists expedite sustainment for RSAF F-15s
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F15 Hinge Production
Christopher Crosby, 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron machinist, operates a universal milling machine in the production of various critically needed aircraft parts. (U. S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)
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Machinists expedite sustainment for RSAF F-15s

Posted 8/1/2014   Updated 8/8/2014 Email story   Print story


by Jenny Gordon
Robins Public Affairs

8/1/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Due to teamwork and the steady handiwork of 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron machinists, several high priority items were recently manufactured that will help sustain F-15s flying in the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Known as conformal fuel tank hinges, the small parts may appear plain and ordinary, but don't let that fool you.

It took about a week and a half to manufacture all three hinges, with a completion date of July 11.
These parts play a crucial role in ensuring there is access to an aircraft's conformal fuel tank - which are additional fuel tanks fitted closely to the outside of an aircraft allowing it to fly farther distances.

Managed by the Defense Logistics Agency, the process was underway to procure a new contract for the parts; however, the expected delivery date wasn't until 2015.

Working with DLA Aviation in Richmond, Va., a process was worked out months ago to locally-produce the needed parts at Robins, thus cutting down on RSAF's wait time and bringing in additional workload to the 402nd Commodities Group.

"It's a victory for everyone. Not only did CMXG clear this up for us, but it also brought workload and revenue into Robins. This effort will continue to keep us turning parts," said Capt. Jose Perez, with the F-15 Foreign Military Sales Program Office here. "That's really the good news story."

Several shops participated in the project, including the Conventional Shop, where manual calculations are performed, and the Tool and Die Shop.

"I refer to these guys as engineers without the degrees, meaning they create and design their own processes in how they cut everything," said Anthony Day, 573rd CMMXS production supervisor. "It's amazing what highly-skilled machinists are capable of doing with these complex parts every day."

Robins' support for RSAF is important as part of a long, established military relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

Obsolete parts on aircraft can be an issue, said Maj. Raied Egran, a former RSAF liaison officer at Robins who was involved during the process.

"Sometimes we need just one or two items - not in big quantities, but small ones - that allow us to fly our aircraft," he said. "The facilities and machinery capable of producing these items here are amazing."

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