Industry and academia examine bomber components during a tour of the hydro central repair facility at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, during a workshop held Sept. 26. (Aaron Finney/STRIKEWERX)
By Sean Green | STRIKEWERX Marketing and Communication Director
BOSSIER CITY, La. — STRIKEWERX and Air Force Global Strike Command Office of the Chief Scientist brought together Airmen and industry to collaborate on revitalizing aircraft parts during a workshop at the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City, Louisiana.
As aging airframes need to be sustained, parts are no longer being produced and the supply chain for older parts is disappearing. AFGSC is seeking new, innovative technology and methods to reduce costs, save lost manhours and improve aircraft readiness.
“We have these old, aging airframes and parts are failing. Parts are dying off and the supply chain is gone,” said Master Sgt. Justin Countryman, AFGSC project champion. “If we can find new ways to repair the part instead of condemning the part so that it goes back into the supply inventory or back on the aircraft, that’s going to help big time with not having to spend a lot of money procuring older parts and, more importantly, getting the aircraft back in the skies.”
The workshop featured industry partners from Quidient and Metro Aviation discussing additive manufacturing to 3D print replacement parts and using cold spray additive manufacturing to add material back to damaged parts for reutilization.
“If you go do a site visit like we did here at Barksdale AFB and see the actual panels of a B-52 that maintainers are working on, we see how we can help them and make their jobs easier so they can better utilize their time,” said Brandon Turley, of Quidient.
The workshop also discussed rebuilding or refurbishing parts at the wing level on AFGSC bases to avoid creating a backlog of at a higher-level, intensive repairs maintenance facility.
“We had a lot of discussions that gave us things we didn’t even know to look for. The workshop definitely opened our eyes to things in industry that we were not even considering,” said Countryman.
Jake Boogaerts, of Metro Aviation, said he appreciated the unique opportunity to work with the military.
“I think it’s beneficial for both of us as an open forum where you can give your perspective and work with people in the room to learn about these problems and share new technology to find a solution,” said Boogaerts.
The AFGSC Logistics Wing Directorate will now select aircraft parts as a case study and examine a technology to utilize in repairing, refurbishing, or creating new parts.