USAF A-10 completes wing replacement programme
The US Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support aircraft has completed an eight-year wing replacement programme, with the last of 173 new wing sets having been installed at Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill AFB in Utah.
The ALC’s 571st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AXMS) swapped wings on 162 A-10s as part of the A-10Enhanced Wing Assembly replacement programme, while the remaining 11 were installed at Osan Air Base in South Korea.
In 2007, Boeing was awarded a $1.1 billion contract to build replacement wings for the aircraft at its Macon, Georgia plant that will facilitate the aircraft flying into the late 2030s.
The new wings are expected to last for up to 10,000 equivalent flight hours without a depot inspection, while a better wire harness design was introduced for easier wing removal and to lessen the chance of damaging the wing during this process.
Heavy stresses have been put on the wings throughout its lifetime, and given that the out of service date for the aircraft remains unknown, the wing replacement effort was an interim measure to ensure that the A-10 remains airworthy until this date.
‘From a warfighter point of view, bringing this programme to a successful conclusion was a significant accomplishment for the entire enterprise team,’ Stephen Zaiser, 571st AXMS director, said.
The A-10 was introduced in 1976, and due to the age of the fleet, the modifications included having to make new parts for the fuselage, as well as having to bring A-10 parts from the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
‘At the end of the programme, making sure we had all the pieces and parts that we needed to make that happen required a really significant team effort,’ Zaiser noted.
‘I think the fact that we produced the aircraft so successfully is a testament to the whole team, the special programme office, Boeing and others that were a part of making it all work.’
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