Joint Tinkering

Near the end of this month, workers from the 566th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center on the grounds of Tinker AFB, Okla., will begin a service life extension program on the Navy’s fleet of E-6B airborne command post aircraft. The work is expected to extend the life of these aircraft, which provide strategic communications to the nation’s nuclear assets, for another 20 years. The SLEP involves inspecting and replacing up to 15,000 fasteners on the aircraft’s wings as well as widening and strengthening the fastener holes. Bill Cain, deputy director of the squadron, said the SLEP work is “very labor intensive and likely will require 28,000 man hours of labor per aircraft. The first E-6B is scheduled to be completed by February. The entire 16-aircraft fleet is projected to be finished in the spring of 2013. (Tinker report by Howdy Stout)