A DLA team is helping the Air Force solve an ongoing maintenance challenge involving high-demand specialized parts.
Roughly two years ago, the Air Force F-15 Program Office at Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, initiated a review of its F-15 Eagle fleet. The aircraft has been a staple in the Air Force’s fleet of fighter jets for five decades, allowing the service to flex its air supremacy muscle in support of Operation Desert Storm, Operations Southern Watch (no-fly zone in Southern Iraq), Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
During programmed depot maintenance at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, F-15 aircraft were identified as having one or more longerons that were unrepairable. A longeron is a 12-foot-long aluminum beam that is an integral part of the F-15s structural makeup, tying the front and rear fuselages together.
Nine F-15’s, assigned to multiple Air National Guard units undergoing depot maintenance at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, were ultimately identified for reclamation and retirement. Some of those aircraft were identified solely because of the unserviceable longerons, but other parts or repair issues contributed as well.
The Air Force then initiated two phases of the reclamation process. Phase one identified 13 high-demand parts that had previously been replaced on the nine aircraft during PDM and were still serviceable and available for immediate reissue to satisfy worldwide F-15 orders. Phase two identified the full “save” list of 150 additional parts to be turned into the supply system for future repair/overhaul.
Joseph Jinks, chief of DLA Aviation at Warner Robins Business Process Support Branch, said as this process was outside the traditional Industrial Support Activity retail support for turn-ins, the F-15 Program Office reached out to Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and DLA Distribution at Warner Robins to determine the detailed procedures and transactions that would properly account for the material being returned to the Air Force supply system inventory.
The DLA Aviation at Warner Robins materiel management team generated internal turn-in documents through the Air Force Wholesale and Retail and Shipping System. The D035K is the primary data system used by the Air Force to provide materiel support for depot-level operations.
The DLA Distribution team at Warner Robins worked close to 50 hours of overtime receiving assets from Air Force maintainers removing the parts from the F-15s, verifying the national stock numbers, quantities and condition codes. The team then shipped the assets for processing as well as routed them for packing/crating.
Jinks said between January and October, personnel from DLA Aviation and DLA Distribution at Warner Robins, the Air Force F-15 Program Office and Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex met every week to provide status updates and spreadsheet tracking for all the parts that were turned in. In total, the team turned in 247 distinct document numbers for 1,361 individual parts, valued at $220 million in Air Force managed items.
Shelby Smith, product support manager within the Fighter and Advanced Aircraft Directorate’s F-15 Division at Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base, said the combined teamwork between DLA Aviation, DLA Distribution and the Air Force was invaluable to its success.
“Injecting these parts back into the supply chain directly enables our Air Force to execute its vital national security missions around the world,” Smith said.