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Reaper engine work coming to Tinker

A MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech Air Force Base, Nev., during a local training mission June 9, 2009. The 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech AFB operates the MQ-9.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Paul Ridgeway)

A MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech Air Force Base, Nev., during a local training mission June 9, 2009. The 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech AFB operates the MQ-9. (U.S. Air Force photo/Paul Ridgeway)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Tinker AFB will have a key role in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper engines.

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex will service the Reaper's Honeywell TPE331-10GD turboprop engine. Tinker civilian employees perform depot maintenance on B-52 and B-1B bombers, E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, KC-135 tankers, and a variety of fighter, bomber, AWACS and tanker jet engines.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., of Poway, Calif., has been awarded an $18.25 million firm-fixed-price contract for MQ-1 and MQ-9 organic depot stand-up repair capability, which will be performed at Hill AFB, Utah, and Robins AFB, Ga., as well as Tinker AFB. The contract will be managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

A total of 404 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft are expected to be produced/maintained, according to the 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office at Wright-Patterson.

The MRO engine depot stand-up will be accomplished in stages. Initial set-up of the workload will be performed by the original equipment manufacturer under a public/private partnership agreement. The workload transfer is scheduled to be completed by 2016. Honeywell will train Tinker mechanics in the proper maintenance of the Reaper engine.

Maintenance of the drone's airframe "is not currently projected for Tinker AFB," 88th ABW/PA added.

The contract was awarded at a time when the U.S. is drawing down its forces in Afghanistan and reassigning or bringing home hundreds of General Atomics MQ-1B Predator and larger MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft systems.