Aircraft storage center refurbishes German F-4s

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rian Clawson
  • Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center Public Affairs
The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center here is in the business of aircraft storage and regeneration plus aircraft parts reclamation for various agencies, including the U.S. military and its allies.

Recently, AMARC technicians have assumed a slightly different role by taking on the renovation of seven German F-4F Phantom II aircraft that flew in from across the Atlantic Ocean en route to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

Although the German air force owns the aircraft, while at Holloman the U.S. Air Force will lease them and place them under the operational control of the 49th Fighter Wing's 20th Fighter Squadron. Under the terms of a foreign military sales contract, the 20th FS trains German aircrews in the F-4F, using both German and American instructors.

The Germans have been doing F-4 training at Holloman AFB for more than a decade in what officials describe as a "highly successful program," said 1st Lt. Yvonne Lucson, deputy chief of the 49th FW public affairs office. "However, this is the first time an American agency has been so heavily involved in a major modification and renovation of (German) aircraft."

The F-4Fs that flew in from Germany are perfectly functional as operational aircraft, said Tom Reser, the 20th FS site manager.

"However, the aircraft are now going to be used as trainers, with joint (American and German) aircrews flying in American airspace and, for standardization purposes, that means they will require some additional technology that wasn't previously installed," said Reser.

"Since AMARC has a huge collection of technical experts on the F-4," he said, "they were the obvious choice to install the required time-compliance technical orders."

Among other renovations and upgrades, these time-compliance technical orders include installing improved windscreen quarter panels and dual cockpit audiovisual recorders, modifying the landing gear and flaps circuit breaker panel, removing and replacing the engines, and adding fire and overheat detectors in the engine bays. Since the German F-4s arrived at the center on a staggered schedule, their respective completion dates are likewise staggered.

"The work on the German aircraft is progressing very well," said Tim Higgins, one of the maintenance supervisors overseeing the work. "We have had a few extra requirements added to the work contract since the aircraft arrived, but our crews got right on them and they're still on track to finish up all the work by the established deadline."

Technicians have already completed work on the first German F-4, and the aircraft has departed for its new home and international training role at Holloman AFB. Work on all the remaining aircraft is scheduled for completion by the end of the fiscal year.