Team Eglin keeps F-15Es airborne in AOR

  • Published
  • By Capt. Rob Clements
  • Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force
In order to unravel problems seen on operational aircraft, two 494th Fighter Squadron F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, recently flew for the first time with Solid State Recorders installed by a quick reaction team from Eglin AFB, Fla. 

The combined 53d Wing and 46th Test Wing team installed the new SSR instrumentation systems onto the operational F-15E aircraft in order to collect data during combat missions without interference to combat operations. 

"When the combatant commander asked for help, both the 46th Test Wing and 53d Wing responded," said Lt. Col. David Evans, Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force Commander. "In this case, the OFP CTF partnered with the 846th Test Support Squadron team and F-15 Systems Group to make this effort happen." 

Col. Michael Arnold, 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group commander, requested the team's support to assist in investigating the flight display blanking discrepancies for the F-15E aircraft stationed at Al Udeid. 

"This was the first employment of SSRs on a fielded system," said Al Berard, chief TSS instrumentation development. "The effort gave the investigation team an unprecedented amount of data to aid in troubleshooting problems seen on the F-15E. The ultimate goal was to enable a quicker fix for the warfighter." 

After receiving CENTAF's official tasking Dec. 12, the four-member team consisting of Capt. Rob Clements, OFP CTF deployment commander; James Landry, 846th Test Support Squadron lead F-15E systems engineer; John Curl, 846th TSS instrumentation technician; and Mark Buckley of JDA Systems, deployed the next day. 

Mr. Curl performed the installation and preflight activities for the aircraft during the deployment. His presence was transparent to the warfighters on the ramp, despite the fast-paced tempo of the in-theater operations. 

"This effort validates 46th TW initiatives to provide non intrusive modifications developed by 846th TSS Test Support Squadron," said Mr. Berard. 

The installation would not have been possible without the design three years ago by Mr. Landry. Finally, the portable nature of the debrief systems allowed Mr. Buckley to use the Common Mission Debrief System to download, read and archive the data. 

"Team Eglin pulled together to meet the needs of the deployed operators. I am proud of our joint response," said Colonel Evans. "However, this effort was only the beginning to solving the problem. We look forward to doing what we do best - developing, testing, and fielding improved combat capability."