A hand-selected team of eight F-16 maintainers from the 20th Maintenance Group at Shaw AFB, S.C., recently came together for a week as part of the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century process-improvement initiative. They devised ways to improve the tasks of removing and installing engines on the fighter. The subtle changes that they identified could have a big impact, potentially decreasing an F-16’s downtime by at least 200 hours per year, while improving the quality of maintenance, according to the team. One idea is to incorporate a visually descriptive and easy-to-read reference book to the maintainers’ consolidated tool kit to help junior-level mechanics more quickly inspect the aircraft engine bay. Another is to add cordless drills to the maintainers’ set of hand tools. (Shaw report by 2nd Lt. Jason Martin)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.