Secretary of the Air Force Receives F-35 Engine Update at Tinker AFB > Air Force Sustainment Center > News
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. —
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall visited Tinker Air Force Base July 28 for an update on the base’s support for the F-35 Lightning engine program.
Kendall received an update on F135 engine maintenance and upgrades before receiving a first-hand look at the F135 engine repair line, housed in the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex – the largest maintenance activity , repair and overhaul service supporting a diverse aircraft, engine and software workload for the Air Force, Navy and partner nations. The OC-ALC is part of a public-private partnership with Pratt & Whitney, which establishes the framework for F135 engine maintenance.
His tour of the F135 engine repair line highlighted the repair process and showcased numerous process improvements implemented by the 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group to reduce production times from 244 days in 2021 to a current average of 105 days.
The OC-ALC management team is also focused on finding innovative ways to reduce overall F-35 engine sustainment costs.
“The efforts of the men and women of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex to repair F135 engine modules more quickly and efficiently are beginning to bridge the gap between the current state of F-35 sustainment and where it needs to be,” Kendall said. “These professionals and their innovative approaches will help us meet our nation’s security demands.
The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex moved quickly to increase its capacity to accommodate an unexpected volume of F135 engines and the complexity of the repairs, both of which exceeded what the depot had been enabled to support at that time. With the help of Art of the Possible, a constraint-based management system, constraints were quickly identified and mitigated, resulting in vastly improved combatant support.
“Through the use of the Art of the Possible, we identified the workload bottlenecks that were slowing production of the F135 and sought innovative solutions to eliminate them,” said Colonel Timothy Beck, commander of the 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group. “Changes have been made to almost every facet of the processes to increase production capacity and reduce flow time. We’ve made significant improvements to the inspection process, technician training, engineering response times, technical data, tooling, and even shop design — and we haven’t. not finished improving the process.
Process improvement efforts have enabled OC-ALC to grow its F135 workforce from 79 just over a year ago to 103 today, and with more hiring cycles to come as the unit is doubling its production capacity over the next few years.
Kendall also took the time to recognize and invent several outstanding Airmen doing great things in Tinker, before leaving Tinker to continue his journey which included additional stops at Nellis Air Force Base and Creech Air Force Base.