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Alabama’s 187th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group achieves the highest deployed F-16 Mission Capable rate.

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Matthew Garrett
  • 187th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Maintaining a 30 year old fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons can be challenging, especially while deployed to a combat zone in Afghanistan. The 187th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group met the challenges head on and they have the impressive maintenance statistics to show for it.

During the 2014 deployment to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, the Maintenance Group (MXG) achieved the highest F-16 Mission Capable (MC) rate in Bagram's recent history.

In the 187th's six month deployment, the overall MC rate for the MXG was 86.2%. In July 2014, maintenance met or exceeded all goals set for trackable metrics and achieved a 90.2% MC rate.

To prepare for the deployment, Maj. Adrian Meyer, Commander, 187th Maintenance Squadron, applied a three prong approach - focus on preparing personnel, equipment and aircraft. All major aircraft inspections and heavy maintenance was projected seven months before the deployment. This allowed the maintenance workers to focus on having the F-16s deployment ready. The maintenance group worked hard at their goal, without working weekends or overtime, and the jets were ready three weeks early for the deployment.

"All the prep work is what allowed us to do what we did down range" said Meyer. "The reason we concentrated on maintenance so heavily is because knowing that our brothers and sisters in arms outside the wire are depending on the airpower we provide. If our jets are not ready, they would be in harm's way longer."
One of the biggest challenges that arose while in Afghanistan was complication with the releasablity of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb.

Maintenance Avionics and Weapons teams performed troubleshooting on the aircraft by working with system program managers, the 187th MXG was able to add steps to the technical orders for block 30 F-16s.

"It was a phenomenal effort on all the maintenance, both back shop and flight line, working together", said Meyer. "Through our hard work, we were able to support the Afghan presidential run off and inauguration. We didn't miss a single sortie for the entire deployment."

Lt. Col. John Cobb, 100th Fighter Squadron pilot, relied on the maintenance group to have fully mission capable fighter jets in order to provide close air support to the ground forces.

"During our missions, we faced challenging situations caused by weather, mountainous terrain and complex tactical scenarios. Because of the great performance of our maintenance, ammunition and weapons troops we had a safe, reliable and effective jet every time we flew", said Cobb. "We were able to fly every mission tasked to us, and that really built our confidence as well as the confidence of the ground forces we supported."