Defense

June 16, 2017
 

Fighter wings successfully field test F-35A ammunition loader

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Donovan K. Potter
Hill AFB, Utah

Master Sgt. Ryan Hanner, a 388th Maintenance Group Loading Standardization crew member, attaches the chute to an ammunition bulk loader used to load cannon rounds onto the F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, June 7, 2017.

The 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, the Air Force’s first F-35 Lightning II operational wing, recently received five F-35A bulk ammunition loaders for field use.

Airmen extensively tested one of the loaders June 6-9, 2017, during an engineering validation and verification evaluation here.

The mobile loader lets weapon experts safely and efficiently load 25mm ammunition into the F-35A while simultaneously unloading spent shells.

It’s important for the Airmen who will use the loader on a daily basis to test it at an operational unit, said Lt. Col. Randall Austill, the Air Combat Command Maintenance Munitions Branch chief.

Members of Hill Air Force Base’s active-duty 388th Maintenance Group and the reserve component 419th Maintenance Group used the published technical guidance to stock the loader and load the ammunition into the F-35A.

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Taggart, a 388th Maintenance Group Loading Standardization crew member, reads technical data during a validation and verification process of an ammunition bulk loader used to load cannon rounds onto the F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft, June 7, 2017, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Tech. Sgt. Creighton Daetwyler, who is part of the 388th Maintenance Squadron, said the tests not only validated the loader, but also provided maintainers an opportunity to give input on improving the procedures and equipment in the future.

“I’m proud of our weapons and ammo communities for their proactive drive to unleash Air Force combat capability,” said Col. Michael Miles, the 388th Maintenance Group commander. “The results of this loader evaluation will help the maintenance group deliver combat capability anytime, anywhere when tasked.”




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