TF33 jet engine shop up and running at Tinker AFB

  • Published
  • By Ron Mullan
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force's lone TF33 Jet Engine Intermediate Maintenance shop here achieved full operational capability status in mid-October.

During a ribbon cutting ceremony, Brig. Gen. Judy Fedder, 76th Maintenance Wing commander, said "this marks a shift of engine workload from field units to the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, enabling the warfighter to focus more on expeditionary capabilities and mission."

The shop is part of the 545th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron. According to Bobbi LaRue, 545th PMXS director, the Air Force is closing 38 field intermediate, or I-level, maintenance shops and moving the workload to five or seven Centralized Intermediate Repair Facilities, including Tinker AFB.

The TF33 is the first engine workload to be centralized. By October 2008, the I-level workload for the F101 engine, which powers the B-1 Lancer bomber, along with the F100 and F110-100 engines, which power the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Falcon, will be transferred to Tinker AFB. The consolidation is part the Air Force's Repair Enterprise for the 21st Century.

Upon completion of the transfer of workload for all four engines, Tinker AFB will be doing I-level and depot-level work, which means a significant increase in workload.

"We do approximately 320 to 350 full up depot motors today," said Bobbi LaRue, 545th PMXS director. "On top of that we will see a minimum of 650 Jet Engine Intermediate Maintenance motors across all four types of engines."

Flexibility is crucial to successfully balancing the number of workers and the amount of work space needed to handle the workload.

"We deliberately built a flexible work force, both blue suit and civilian, and flexible work bays," said Ms. LaRue. "That way, if I have a lot of F100s generate and F110s are down, I can switch the bays, and it's the same with the F101s and TF33s."

As the number of engines requiring I-level maintenance increases, the need for qualified workers to meet the demand will also increase. Currently, all maintenance workers are organic Air Force employees, but Ms. LaRue said future plans call for off base hires.

"The majority of these new hires will come from experienced personnel," she said. "There is a large pool of experienced candidates available and that's who we want to hire. We're concentrating on skilled, certified Jet Engine Intermediate Maintenance military retirees already trained in these workloads to come in and augment the blue suit force that we have and stand it up."

"Achieving full operational capability is an important step in enhancing our ability to provide timely warfighter support," added Col. Brian Tri, 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group commander. "The team developed a well thought out strategy, executed the plan and achieved full operational capability on-time, posturing the center for future Jet Engine Intermediate Maintenance workload."

Officials say they expect to achieve full operational capability on all four engines by October 2009.