The Air Force has deployed airmen forming a centralized intermediate repair facility to Southwest Asia to speed repair—and reduce cost—of aircraft tires, brakes, propellers, and engines, reports the Red Tail Flyer. By having the intermediate repair shot in theater, USAF has reportedly saved nearly $10 million in associated costs. Maintenance crews must replace aircraft tires after about 120 landings, at which point the airmen break down the wheel assembly, sending the tire off to be rethreaded by a contractor and replacing the tire with ones on hand and reassembling the wheel on the spot. Intermediate repair shop airmen also break down brake systems, propellers, engines, and other components. Lt. Col. Kurt Kolch, 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron commander, told the Flyer, “There’s no doubt in my mind the CIRF increases mission capability in the fight against terrorism.”
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.