Equipment maintenance airmen at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, have a $176,000 machine with which they can produce two-dimensional parts for almost any aircraft on the base. And, when the machine turned out its first part, it had saved the Air Force more than $346,000. It does work that was once outsourced, according to MSgt. Toxie Robbins, superintendent of the 3rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron’s fabrication flight. The 3rd EMS airmen use computer design software to design, manufacture, and test the metal components they want to make in a virtual environment before making the first actual cut. Apart from saving money, Robbins says the machine also has reduced turnaround time by 90 percent.
The Air Force isn’t giving up on its long-frustrated efforts to retire older aircraft, as the department’s leader continues to talk with lawmakers about plans to free up funds for its modernization efforts, Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones said Nov. 30.