August 8, 2014

AFREP saves Nellis millions in repair costs

Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Tyle Wilson, 57th Maintenance Group Air Force Repair and Enhancement Program technician, works on an electrical piece of an aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 4. The AFREP shop takes unserviceable items that were turned into the supply system, repairs the component at a fraction of what it would cost a contractor, and returns it to the 57th MXG’s flight service center.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – While Nellis Airmen may be familiar with the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the 57th Maintenance Group’s Air Force Repair Enhancement Program shop exists to take care of equipment if it does break.

The AFREP shop takes unserviceable items that were turned into the supply system, repairs the component at a fraction of what it would cost a contractor, and returns it to the 57th MXG’s flight service center.

Once accepted as a serviceable item by the flight service center, the AFREP shop receives full credit for the cost of the part, which goes back into the group and wing funds to improve the base.

“There are some parts that we can’t fix, but we’re not limited to things that are just aircraft related. We’ve fixed computer monitors for the school house on base – 20 of them – which were valued at about $400 a piece, so instead of buying new ones we fixed them for $0.27 a piece,” said Master Sgt. Shane Sneary, 57th MXG AFREP program manager. “We’ve done televisions for the Airman Dorm Center and the egress shop, refrigerators, freezers, ice makers, we can fix just about anything… But our main mission is to fulfill mission-capable items, which just this year we fixed a $500,000 test unit for $265.”

In fiscal year 2013, the Nellis AFREP shop led all of Air Combat Command with more than $3 million in savings. So far in fiscal year 2014, the shop has produced a cost savings of $2.5 million.

“Our figures grow every year as we find more parts that we can fix, our training expands, and we continue to become more and more capable,” Sneary said. “But there are some challenges we face compared to the majority of other bases out there. They usually just deal with one or two airframes, but Nellis is a lot more dynamic because we have [multiple aircraft stationed here], and a host of Red Flag and Green Flag participants as well.”

Although challenging, AFREP offers its technicians job experience they can’t get in their original career fields.

“I’m avionics by trade, but this is still a lot different,” said Staff Sgt. Tyle Wilson, 57th MXG AFREP technician. “We get to open [the item] up, tear it apart, and see what makes it work on the inside. It’s very rewarding – fixing something that goes back to someone, since you know that what you fixed is correctly fixed, and it’s going to go and help someone else.”

Even though they save the Air Force money through their daily operations, both Sneary and Wilson agree they could save additional money if more people knew that their services are open to all Nellis units.

“We promote ourselves at the newcomer’s briefings and maintenance professionals get a second briefing that we’re here, but the biggest piece is letting other agencies outside of the maintenance group know that we’re here and we can fix things that are broken for them,” Sneary said. “We’re pretty simple, [prospective clients] can give any of my technicians a call and we’ll go from there.”

Base agencies interested in the AFREP shop’s services can contact them at 702-652-5471.

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