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Korean Air awarded Kadena contract at Robins ceremony

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Korean Air was recently awarded a $473 million contract to continue a five-year partnership of program depot maintenance on the F-15 aircraft fleet from Kadena Air Base in Japan.

A signing ceremony was conducted Sept. 21 in Bldg. 300 with Col. Gerald Swift, F-15 Eagle Division director, and June Chul Choi, managing vice president of the airline's Aerospace Division.

"Since 1982 we have been in a very solid partnership with Korean Air Lines that has kept the F-15 healthy and viable," said Swift, noting the partnership is truly another milestone with the F-15 weapons system. "When you talk world-class depot performance, there is absolutely no doubt they are world class.

"What they've done the last three years with integrating our massive 5,000-hour rewire package into the depot line, and reducing overall flow time by nearly 35 percent, has been exceptional," he added.

Swift was referring to not only the standard depot work done on the planes in Korea, but also the extensive replacing of all the wiring in the F-15C and D models. Rewiring work on F-15s is also completed at Robins.

Typically, nine F-15s are maintained by KAL each year; however, there is flexibility to do up to 12 planes per year in the contract, said Swift.

Based in Okinawa, Kadena's fleet includes 54 F-15s, under the 18th Wing, which are maintained by Korean Air Lines in Pusan.

The Center Aerospace Directorate's Eagle Division is the contract awarding office for F-15 aircraft depot maintenance efforts.

"I know that the Eagle is going to be in very good hands as long as it's going through your depot," said Swift to Choi.

Choi, accompanied by DaeSoo Song, contract chief manager, noted the company has been putting forward its best effort in keeping the F-15 healthy.

"We are very proud of the F-15 Eagle package and very proud to work for the U.S. Air Force," said Choi. "The F-15 is the best fighter these days. This will help our country and our government in the future."

Choi added that since 1982, 530 aircraft have been maintained by the company and successfully delivered to the Air Force.

It was noted that a change in the contract from a government-furnished material contract, to a contractor-furnished material contract, transfers more parts management responsibility to Korean Air Lines, which will also allow for more flexibility.

"They will now manage all of the parts that are required for the depot package," explained Swift. "They are primarily responsible for working with the international supplier base to order those parts, purchase those parts and put them on the jet."

Swift was particularly appreciative of the hard work during the last year from contractors, program managers and depot teams who worked together to make the contract a success.

"On behalf of the Eagle community, I want to thank this Robins and Korean Air Lines team for their incredible hard work and partnership to get this contract to award, and make this depot operation a continued success," Swift said during his remarks.

The Robins team is led by Thomas Crooms, program manager, and Brian Layfield, contracting officer.