Members of the 546th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron at Tinker AFB, Okla., recently made significant strides in how they service F108 engines—the powerplants for the KC-135 tanker fleet—and have developed a process for producing engines out of depot in about 50 days, according to a base release. Last summer, senior leaders asked the squadron to develop a standard process to increase engine production—the goal was to complete an engine in 55 total flow days—and meet recurring deadlines, states the March 22 release. The F108 team divided up tasks and rearranged the process of producing engines into four phases: disassembly, materials, assembly, and test. Small improvements, such as organizing kitting carts to ensure items like bolts and nuts are accounted for before placement, helped cut down flow days. At the end of Fiscal 2012, the average number of flow days to complete an F108 stood at 106, states the release. In the first quarter of Fiscal 2013, the average was 84 days. In the second quarter of Fiscal 2013, the unit average stood at 59 days, and in February, technicians completed one engine in 49 days. (Tinker report by Brandice J. O’Brien)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.