Members of the 568th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Tinker Air Base had a busy first year of production in depot, completing maintenance work on 23 KC-46A Pegasus airplane.
In the process, maintenance managers also exceeded their own one-day turnaround target, with an average of 35 days to return the Air Force’s newest refueller to the field.
Completing work on all scheduled aircraft ahead of schedule is particularly important as the KC-46A is still in its initial phase of operational testing and evaluation. Generally, depot maintenance programs do not begin until the aircraft has reached initial operational capability.
The first KC-46A arrival to Tinker AFB for maintenance on September 10, 2020. The Pegasus landed with great fanfare, even receiving a water salute, or hosed down, from Tinker’s Fire and Emergency Services.
The 568th AMXS is the first Federal Aviation Administration– Designated military repair station, which allows maintenance on commercial derivative aircraft, such as the KC-46A. The MRS program holds the 568th AMXS to FAA standards, part of which includes scheduled maintenance checks on the aircraft every two years.
“My team began activating the KC-46A in 2017, so our successful execution of the 23 planes planned in our first year of operation is very gratifying,” said Gene Harris, director of the 568th AMXS. “Most importantly, I am touched by this opportunity and inspired by the fact that our 568th team lives up to our squadron’s logo, ‘Refueling the Future.’ “
The Pegasus will become a more mainstream spectacle as Tinker AFB’s KC-46A campus continues to grow. Currently, two hangars are operational, and seven more are expected to enter service in the future as more aircraft enter inventory and the operations they support increase.
When completed, the KC-46A sustainment campus will consist of a total of 14 docks: seven engine starting points, five additional ramp parking spaces, an engine test cell, an integration lab systems and administration space for a program office and aircraft maintenance personnel.
The docks will include two multi-bay hangars for corrosion control, fuel and scheduled depot maintenance, two additional hangars for corrosion control, two additional fuel sheds and eight scheduled sheds for tank maintenance. deposit. The campus will also feature four additional engine operating locations for 100% organic support.
Tinker AFB acquired the 156-acre KC-46A sustainment campus from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in 2010. The initial investment of $ 44 million to purchase the property adjacent to the base was a joint effort between the Air Force, local and state authorities. .
Ultimately, the Air Force will have invested more than $ 755 million in military construction funding into the project. The campus is also expected to employ 1,300 people as part of the state’s quality employment program.
Based on the Boeing 767, the KC-46A is a versatile widebody tanker aircraft, supporting missions such as air-to-air refueling, cargo and aeromedical evacuation, as well as passenger transport. Tinker AFB is the scheduled depot maintenance center for the KC-46A, providing all aspects of depot aircraft maintenance.