Equipment maintenance airmen at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, have a $176,000 machine with which they can produce two-dimensional parts for almost any aircraft on the base. And, when the machine turned out its first part, it had saved the Air Force more than $346,000. It does work that was once outsourced, according to MSgt. Toxie Robbins, superintendent of the 3rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron’s fabrication flight. The 3rd EMS airmen use computer design software to design, manufacture, and test the metal components they want to make in a virtual environment before making the first actual cut. Apart from saving money, Robbins says the machine also has reduced turnaround time by 90 percent.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.