Tinker Completes Saudi AWACS Restoration

Air Force maintainers with the 76th Maintenance Squadron at Tinker AFB, Okla., recently sent a Saudi Arabian E-3 AWACs back home with the Royal Saudi Air Force after completing nearly a year’s worth of upgrades and restoration. Aircraft 1804, delivered to Tinker last May, is one of five E-3s in the Royal Saudi Air Force. The aircraft suffered “catastrophic” damage to its radar antenna after overheating in flight and has been inactive for more than three years, said Danny Simon, the Middle East support chief with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. After arrival at Tinker, technicians removed and replaced the radar antenna faster than planned, which allowed repairs on the aircraft’s radio systems, identification radar, and hydraulics. A contingent of Saudi pilots, radar operators, and maintainers recently visited Tinker to conduct the check flight before flying the aircraft back to Saudi Arabia, said Simon, who gave credit to the 76th AMG for taking on the additional workload to its normal depot tasks. Collectively, the team completely rebuilt the entire support structure for the main radar. “This was a monumental effort, which required multiple agencies involvement, including daily interaction at the highest levels of the United States Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force,” he added. (Tinker release.)