Depot technicians from Hill AFB, Utah, and maintainers at Shaw AFB, S.C., have been adding a new beyond-line-of-sight communications package to the Shaw F-16 fleet in time for the 79th Fighter Squadron’s upcoming deployment. To accomplish the upgrade, which enables satellite communication unhindered by terrain, the Shaw maintainers remove the engine and all panels, providing the Hill technicians with full access to the wiring harness from the cockpit through the engine bay and up into the tail for the BLOS installation. Then, the Shaw group reinstalls the engine and panels and completes operational checks. The team compressed the seven-day process by taking an aircraft apart and modifying it concurrently to ensure work would be done in time for deployment. The upgrade work is to continue through March 2010 for the 77th FS and 55th FS F-16s. (Shaw report by SSgt. John Gordinier)
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.