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Kirkland, McMurry talk readiness, collaboration

KC-135R Stratotanker, serial # 58-0099, lands at Tinker Air Force Base for induction into the periodic depot maintenance line with the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex March 9, 2017, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The aircraft is assigned to the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

KC-135R Stratotanker, serial # 58-0099, lands at Tinker Air Force Base for induction into the periodic depot maintenance line with the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex March 9, 2017, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The aircraft is assigned to the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

Trey Wilson and Nhan Le, 564th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Block 45 avionic technicians, work together to route wire strands while building an integrated flight management system kit for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft in building 986 Nov. 15, 2016, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The desktop shop aids shown here were custom built by the 564th AMXS to allow work that used to be done on the aircraft to now be done in the shop for more reliability, consistency and quicker final installation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

Trey Wilson and Nhan Le, 564th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Block 45 avionic technicians, work together to route wire strands while building an integrated flight management system kit for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft in building 986 Nov. 15, 2016, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The desktop shop aids shown here were custom built by the 564th AMXS to allow work that used to be done on the aircraft to now be done in the shop for more reliability, consistency and quicker final installation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma --

The importance of increasing readiness while decreasing costs through enterprise collaboration was the focus of a discussion lead by Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland, Commander, Air Force Sustainment Center, and Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, Commander, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, at the Tinker and the Primes event at the Reed Center, Midwest City, Aug. 14

 “Our operations are so intertwined, and together we look forward to supporting our Air Force,” Kirkland said. “I’d like to share the AFSC perspective in ongoing collaboration with the Life Cycle Management Center and other program customers. Our respective centers are in step as we dually respond to the National Defense Strategy imperative to increase readiness while reducing the cost of that readiness.”

Kirkland briefed the audience on the AFSC mission of maintaining the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, Ogden Air Logistics Complex and Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex and the various fleets they sustain with a $17.6 billion budget and 43,000 personnel.

“Like AFSC, you in this room have roles in helping sustain these fleets,” Kirkland said. “This is a team sport between the support program offices, the organic depot supply chains and commercial industry.”

The importance of cost-effective readiness was emphasized as the cost of sustaining a fleet also has an impact on the fleet’s size.

McMurry explained some of the strides being made to increase readiness to an 80% mission capable rate while reducing costs through sustainment tools and technology, such as lasers and robotics, additive manufacturing, data and software, and condition-based maintenance.

For example, McMurry says that the robotics laser coating removal service that has been utilized for F-16 paint removal at Ogden ALC has shown positive results. The RLCRS cut man- hours per aircraft from 279 to 112 and cost per aircraft from $39,000 to $15,000. This resulted in an annual savings of $1.9 million while also cutting annual hazardous waste from 159,000 pounds to 790 pounds.

“We have a good relationship between the Life Cycle Management Center and the AFSC and we’re constantly looking at modification,” McMurry said.

The use of additive manufacturing has also created a smaller source of cost-effective sustainment and maintenance through the production of pieces and tools for the C-5M, C-17, C-130, propulsion, human systems and support equipment.

“The small numbers of parts and things we’re trying to do with additive make a small ripple in an ocean of problems,” McMurry said.

However, despite the small ripples additive manufacturing is making now, McMurry says it’s not trivial.

“I can see the day where we have a fight from an unknown location with a recoverable or perhaps a cruise type non-recoverable system and I need the ability to have a full supply chain in a small package somewhere. Additive is the ability to print parts at any location that can generate electricity,” he said. 

Aside from the technology and tools used to increase cost-effective readiness, Kirkland and McMurry also put an emphasis on the importance of private-public partnerships in achieving this goal.

“As a network of maintenance repair, overhaul and supply chain, software and installation operations, we increasingly rely on the goodness that public-private partnerships bring with industry both large and small,” Kirkland said. “Our public-private partnerships leverage the best of both sectors, enabling a highly skilled, diversified workforce with long-term working relationships and are often the catalyst of bringing new technologies into our depots.”