At the Cellular Level

Engineers laid the foundation of two new jet-engine test cells, including one designed to handle the F-35 strike fighter’s F135 powerplant, at Tinker AFB, Okla. The base already boasts 10 engine test cells, called “T-9s,” that support depot maintenance lines at its Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center. The two additional test chambers previously stood at Aviano AB, Italy, and Cannon AFB, N.M. Since those bases no longer used them, workers disassembled, refurbished, and shipped them to Tinker, said base officials April 13. Contractors at Tinker are currently installing a fuel supply, engine starters, utility connection, and an administration building to support them. In addition to the F135, contractors are fabricating interchangeable test frames for the two cells to support KC-135 tanker and B-1B bomber engine testing, according to members of Tinker’s 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group. They expect to have the two new T-9 cells reassembled by June and instrumented by August. Both are scheduled to be up and ready by next year. (Tinker report by Mike Ray)