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Air power requires ground power

Staff Sgt. David Blackburn, 55th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment (AGE) journeyman, center, and other AGE personnel, look over recently acquired generators on Offutt AFB, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by D.P. Heard)

Staff Sgt. David Blackburn, 55th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment (AGE) journeyman, center, and other AGE personnel, look over recently acquired generators on Offutt AFB, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by D.P. Heard)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

With five brand new generators and 12 on the way, Aerospace Ground Equipment’s Airmen are getting the mission accomplished faster.

The previous fleet of generators were more than 20 years-old, surpassing their service life, and came with a laundry list of setbacks from system failure to the discontinuance of part manufacturing.  

“Many of the component manufacturers have ceased operations through the last decade which has made parts procurement difficult, and in some cases impossible,” said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Williams, 55th Maintenance Squadron. “This led the AGE flight to utilize the Civilian Off the Shelf Program to procure a commercially available option, which could fill the capability gap and power the RC-135 aircraft fleet into the next decade.”

The generators are vital to Offutt’s mission as they provide ground power to the aircraft for a multitude of uses, which made the method of parts procurement too lengthy to maintain readiness. The upgrade was a must.

The team got to work locating new viable options and found a model that was not only less expensive, but also more reliable.

“The procurement of the new generators will cut the fleet by half due to the availability of two power outputs versus one,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Blake, 55th MXS.

The generator inspections were done on the day of delivery and training immediately began. The manufacturer supplied a representative to teach the AGE flight a two-day training course.

Immediately following the course, the equipment was put to use.

In addition to the monetary perks, the new model features improved fuel efficiency and is much quieter. The generators also are under warranty and are repaired by the manufacturer.

“With the addition of the new generators, maintenance time is drastically reduced with more time available for training and developing new potential craftsmen,” Blake said.