Supporting the sustainment mission through quality machined aircraft parts

  • Published
  • By Joseph Mather, Warner Robins Public Affairs
  • Robins Public Affairs

The Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is one of three sustainment complexes in the Air Force that keeps our nation’s aerial assets capable of meeting our warfighter’s needs globally.

The 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron Machine Flight with the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group provides those specialized machined parts, which keep those aircraft flying.

James Pullen, 573rd CMXS Machine Flight Computer Numerical Control Machine section supervisor said, the 573rd CMXS performs depot level maintenance on F-15, C-17, C-17, C-130 and JSTARS E-8C aircraft structural components by utilizing state of the art computerized numerical controlled milling systems.

“Our programing group takes engineering drawings to design programs for our various CNC multi-axis milling machines,” he said. “We then utilize raw materials to create any type of aircraft parts for the sustainment mission at Robins.”

Pullen said some broken parts do not have drawings to create a new part.

“At times we have had broken parts come from an aircraft and we take those to the additive manufacturing section to have a diagram created of the part,” he said. “They create programs to make the part. That program is used to manufacture the part out the material required such as aluminum, steel or titanium and we will machine that part to go back on to the waiting aircraft.”

James Ellis, 573rd CMXS Machine Flight CNC Machine section work lead said 70 percent of the time the shop makes parts for the supply system.

“We provide machined parts to fill supply requests to the Defense Logistics Agency customers around the world,” he said. “The other 30 percent of the time we make replacement parts for aircraft that needs them now in support of the sustainment mission.”

Pullen said you typically see these type of set ups in the automotive industry.

“The ideal situation is to set up the CNC milling machine and run them around the clock pumping out a particular type of part,” he said. “We have that same capability here at Robins because of the complexity of the parts that come to us.”

Having the CNC milling systems are imperative to the sustainment mission Robins, said Pullen.

“This is important to the mission because as a depot we have the capability of machining any part for the base and the Air Force,” he said. “We don’t have to go through an outside contractor or outside supplier for parts or repairs.”

Ellis said everything we do is important to the sustainment mission.

“This provides us a quick opportunity to be able to produce parts for aircraft and keep the sustainment process moving or to get an aircraft back on its mission,” he said.

Pullen said his team makes a lot of complex parts.

“I have worked in the aircraft industry for 37 years,” he said. “It makes me feel good when I come in and can instill in the new employees my knowledge and experience to support the long-term mission of our country. That to me is exciting and rewarding at the same time.”