About a dozen members of the 642nd Combat Sustainment Group at Robins AFB, Ga., are redesigning the flightline air conditioners that are critical to aircraft operations in the high temperatures encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The No. 1 complaint of our warfighters in theater is flightline air conditioners,” said Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. The diesel-operated units are crucial for keeping aircraft avionics cool while the platforms are on the ground being prepared for missions. The current units are designed to operate in temperatures up to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, but flightline temperatures in Southwest Asia can get as high as 140 degrees, which causes them to shut down. The Air Force anticipates awarding a production contract for redesigned, more robust units late next year. (Robins report by Wayne Crenshaw)
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.