301 MXG - Maintaining Lethality Published Sept. 20, 2018 By Lt. Col. John M. Nemecek 301st Fighter Wing NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas -- On any given day around the maintenance complex you will find Airmen making the 301st Fighter Wing mission happen. If you are on the flight line and look at our F-16 tail flashes, you will notice that some of the jets have ‘85 markings, which tells the year the aircraft was manufactured. With some quick math you can easily deduce we have iron on the ramp that is 33 years old. Don’t let the age of these jets fool you though, they are as lethal as they have ever been. Our goal in the maintenance group is to provide safe and reliable aircraft. Here is a quick look at how we maintain the lethality of these F-16s despite their age. Air Force Instruction 21-101 guides Air Force maintenance. Here at the 301 FW, we utilize this guidance to help us organize our maintenance into on-equipment and off-equipment maintenance. We have two large squadrons in the group. The Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) performs the majority of our on-equipment maintenance or tasks associated with the F-16 itself. In the AMXS, you will find your crew chiefs, weapons and specialist technicians ensuring these jets are ready to fly the daily missions required per our flying program. Here is how Staff Sgt. James Bobbitt from the 301 AMXS Avionics section approaches his maintenance tasks on these systems. “I like the work smarter, not harder mentality of the 301st,” he said. “I focus on reliable first-time fixes.” The aging fleet inherently drives increased maintenance requirements. Couple this with limitations on manpower and equipment, and you can easily see that taking the time to troubleshoot these issues is imperative for our maintainers. The Maintenance Squadron (MXS) is where you will find our maintenance technicians that are primarily concerned with off-equipment maintenance. These Airmen work on munitions, armament, fuels, propulsion, aerospace ground equipment, avionics, egress, electrical and environmental, pneudraulics, and non-destructive inspections. Chief Master Sgt. Tod Bell, 301 MXS superintendent, offered this perspective. “The maintenance squadron has more than 250 of the most qualified Airmen in the Air Force Reserve,” he said. “Spread out over 13 Air Force career fields, these highly trained Airmen continue to keep the 301 FW F-16’s at the top of all the Combat Air Force’s stats.” To do this, we complete a wide range of tasks including but not limited to overhauling all of the units F110 General Electric aircraft motors, repairing line replaceable units, overhauling our own ejection seats and running each aircraft through a 300-hour phase inspection every 18 days. Without these highly-skilled Airmen, the 301 FW would not be able to stay at the forefront of air combat. We continually strive to meet the wing’s mission statement of providing combat-ready Airmen to the combatant commanders. The MXS truly maintains the backbone of the F-16. As evidence of our track record in combat, our systems are lethal. MXG also consists of the Maintenance Operations Flight (MOF). This flight is home to the Maintenance Operations Control Center (MOCC), plans and scheduling, training, and quality assurance. Airman Ignacio Lopezdomenech, 301 MXG plans and scheduling, knows her role is important to maintaining lethality. “The original life expectancy of the F-16 aircraft was initially projected to have a maximum of 8,000 flight hours,” she said. “Just like a vehicle, aircraft are scheduled from plans and scheduling for routine maintenance and depot modifications. Through this, our aircraft have gained an additional 3,000 flight hours or equivalent eight years of war-fighting capability.” This group of Airmen must continually coordinate with each other to ensure a vibrant, mission-ready fleet. The group also has to work with outside agencies to sustain the lethality of this weapon system. Air Force Logistics Centers are constantly inducting our F-16s to provide the latest modifications and structural upgrades to ensure state of the art combat capability and extend the service life of these airframes. In the maintenance group, we are extremely proud of being Total Force Integrated (TFI). Our active duty, air reserve technicians (ARTs), and traditional reservists all come together to maintain this fleet. The group has the ultimate blend of experience and tenacity that propelled the maintenance group to Air Force Reserve Command leading metrics, including a mission-capable rate well above the Air Combat Command and AFRC standards every year. Active duty Tech. Sgt. Adrian Foster, 301 AMXS, had this to say regarding TFI. “The ART workforce is a massive source of knowledge and wisdom,” Foster said. “The continuity that the ART workforce brings to the fight is a game changer, allowing first-term Airmen to get a jump start to their careers”. Here in the group, maintaining the TFI teamwork construct is an imperative to delivering safe and reliable aircraft. The 301 MXG is extremely proud of those Airmen who came before us who built a legacy of delivering combat power in every major operation. Despite the age of this fleet, we are dedicated to maintaining this legacy of lethality.