Working With What We Have

The 28th Bomb Wing is building a new facility to repair and extend the life of B-1 bombers, according to a press release. The facility will allow maintainers to use “cold spray” technology—developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War—to repair aircraft parts that would not otherwise be repairable. It is expected to be fully operational by May, allowing for full integration of the “cold spray” process. The Air Force has had trouble finding parts for the aging B-1 because companies have stopped making them. “We need this capability and other additive manufacturing capabilities at the field level so the 28th [Maintenance Group] commander and high technicians have the ability to repair or restore assets we currently have,” said Brian James, the 28th MXG’s senior engineering and technical advisor. James said the capability will increase aircraft availability and decrease the amount of downtime between maintenance actions.