HomeNewsArticle Display

F-16 Service Life Extension Program a ‘great deal’ for DoD, taxpayers

A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 jet is towed out of a hangar April 26, 2018 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The aircraft was the first to receive structural modifications as part of the F-16 Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP, that will keep the jet flying for decades. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A Thunderbird F-16 jet is towed out of a hangar April 26, 2018 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The aircraft was the first to receive structural modifications as part of the F-16 Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP, that will keep the jet flying for decades. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Sheet metal mechanics Alex Turbyfill, right, and Gilbert Martinez, assigned to 533rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron, work on an F-16 wing April 26, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 533rd is performing structural-strengthening modifications as part of the F-16 Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP, that will keep the jets flying for decades. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Sheet metal mechanics Alex Turbyfill, right, and Gilbert Martinez, assigned to 533rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron, work on an F-16 wing April 26, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The squadron is performing structural-strengthening modifications as part of the F-16 Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP, that will keep the jets flying for decades. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) -- The Ogden Air Logistics Complex reached a major milestone in extending the life of one of the Air Force’s most tested and flown multi-role fighter fleets.

An Air Force Thunderbird jet is the first of what will be roughly 300 refurbished C and D model F-16’s that will roll off the shop floor of the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here after receiving multiple structure-strengthening modifications.

“As a former maintenance officer for the Thunderbirds, I can fully grasp the significance of this achievement by the 573rd AMXS,” said Brig. Gen. Stacey Hawkins, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander. “Not only did the team increase aircraft availability for the Air Force’s most visible fighter squadron, but it paved the way for increasing combat lethality for our warfighters across the globe.”

The F-16 Service Life Extension Program will keep the jets flying until nearly 2050, thanks to a partnership between the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center’s F-16 Systems Program Office.

The program combines a dozen structural modifications into one repeatable package – from bulkheads to wings and canopy. The jets, which became operational in 1979, and were originally deemed air worthy for up to 8,000 flight hours, will have their life extended up to 12,000 flying hours – possibly more, said Capt. Randy Nemerson, F-16 SLEP acquisition manager.

All the stateside SLEP modifications will be completed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Years of planning and testing have gone into the program here. AFLCMC, depot and contract engineers have worked together to lay the groundwork, said Nemerson.

The Thunderbird jet was the first of four F-16s that will be used as “validation and verification” aircraft. Maintainers use the challenges and lessons learned on these first aircraft to better establish the cost, workflow and timeline for the modifications.

“The Thunderbird jet presented some challenges. This is the largest structural upgrade we’ve ever done,” said Joe Gardenhour, civilian leader in the 573rd AMXS. “But we’re excited. This program moves beyond the usual modifications into a standard package of repairs, and it is going to bring stable workload into the depot for years to come.”

As with nearly every major maintenance program, SLEP is a group effort in the complex. The maintenance support group is hunting for space for the increased workload. The entire team is working on hiring, training and certifying a new crop of mechanics and technicians to take on SLEP.

In the commodities maintenance group, where F-16 wings will be refurbished, advanced and automated machinery needs to be purchased and installed along with older, refurbished machines and jigs.

Repairing the wings in-house is a big undertaking, doubling the squadron’s current wing workload, but engineers say it will save millions of dollars. Schedules between the back shops and aircraft maintenance also need to be closely coordinated so parts and tools are ready at the proper times for tear down and reassembly.

“This is really is a big initiative across the complex, but in commodities we support everyone – F-35, F-22, C-130, A-10s, so there’s always something new and we’re pretty accustomed to taking on the challenge,” said Shane Olsen, leader of the 533rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron.

Once the final processes and workforce are in place, the goal is to complete each SLEP jet in 9 months at a cost of $2.4 million, a small fraction of the cost of buying a new aircraft. The F-16 Systems Program Office is also working on a separate software and technology upgrade for the F-16.

Engage

Twitter
On this day 72 years, ago Soviet forces lifted the blockade, which shut off food, coal and medicine to two million… https://t.co/sxLSAJ5q6e
Twitter
Ellison Onizuka, an Air Force test pilot who later became an astronaut, flew aboard 1985's Space Shuttle Discovery’… https://t.co/xE5xcPsSKF
Twitter
RT @grandslamwing: #ICYMI Members from the 816th EAS and 379th ELRS certified training on the ABFDS, which allows the mission to continue f…
Twitter
“The #AirForce is really trying to look beyond traditional technologies and vendors in how we are satisfying our ba… https://t.co/Lt2dIO1zoi
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Sentry Savannah brings together pilots and Airmen from across the nation for a unique fighter integration training experi…
Twitter
“This Pave Hawk represents the hard work and accomplishments of the men and women of the 55th Special Operations Sq… https://t.co/vb5f7qKaUH
Twitter
The @USAFReserve and the @AFThunderbirds recently flew @ForrestGriffin, a former @UFC champion and member of the UF… https://t.co/xgkO2ILOEq
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: The @386thAEW is using Virtual Reality to create a fully immersive, simulated training experience for our defenders. This f…
Twitter
The pods help the MQ-9 play an increased, more prominent role in the command and control arena of the battlefield.… https://t.co/wW0LE4Uupf
Twitter
The purpose of the #F15EX’s participation in Northern Edge is to allow for immediate deep-end testing in a complex… https://t.co/xm3X2EpTiy
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Great visit to @US_CYBERCOM today. I appreciate the discussion with @CYBERCOM_DIRNSA & the teams that work in defense of…
Twitter
RT @US_TRANSCOM: #DYK, amid the ongoing #CovidPandemic, @AirMobilityCmd Airmen have employed the Transport Isolation System(TIS) and Negati…
Twitter
Invisible Wounds: Risk, Impact, and Available Resources Everyone is susceptible to invisible wounds. Its impact ca… https://t.co/yauTW2OU94
Twitter
Arthur Tien Chin was one of the first U.S. volunteer combat aviators, who traveled to China to battle in the Second… https://t.co/3xD2t3ZAEw
Twitter
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: Service. Strength. Sacrifice.🇺🇸 #TillValhalla In honor of fallen @usairforce @SpecialTactics_ officer, Capt. Matthew Rola…
Twitter
What would happen if personnel needed to be rapidly deployed to a location where nothing was on the ground except a… https://t.co/dZT3YFYNG1
Twitter
“I have always been interested in global and international security, language, and adventure,” said A1C Jessica Ram… https://t.co/acayRIMWqb
Twitter
Happy Mother's Day! Today we honor our Airmen and Spouses who fill the role of mom. Your dedication and sacrifices… https://t.co/SBsHXqjw6N
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: The 609th Air Operations Center made history this week when it became the first AOC to operationally utilize the Kessel Run A…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,347,900
Follow Us