By Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The air power of the United States Air Force is decided entirely by how many aircraft are mission ready at any given time. With more than a decade of constant combat missions, most aircraft fly approximately 600 hours per year, if not more.
Age and continued activity means every effort to prolong the life of the aircraft is essential to the overall maintenance of the Air Force fighting ability. Selective repair and corrosion control are preventive maintenance measures in the service life extension program, but breakdowns can’t always be prevented. This is when base Aircraft Parts Stores come into play.
The 21st Logistic Readiness Squadron’s APS here focuses primarily on the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing primary aircraft, the C-130 Hercules, but they also maintain a warehouse with over 44.5 million C-130 parts to ship world-wide. They provide necessary parts any visiting C-130 might need, and build the mobility readiness spares packages for squadron deployments, exercises and temporary duty assignments.
“MRSPs are air-transportable packages of spare parts configured for rapid deployment in support of conflict or war,” said Butch Castillo, 21st LRS APS asset manager section chief. “Each package is tailored to support a specific scenario, for a specific type and number of aircraft for the first 30 days of a deployment.”
These MRSPs can easily be described as a first aid kit for each aircraft. Kits can include something as small as a screw washer all the way to multi-million dollar engine parts. Depending on the mission, one kit can have as little as 75 items or as many as 8,000, said Castillo.
“We look at past history to see what is considered a high failure part and include extras in the kits,” said Bill Vinson, 21st LRS APS material handler. “Tires, props, lights, brakes, transmitters, wenches, basically any consumable or repairable part that might be needed.”
Many kits include similar, high fail items, but are also tailored to the specific missions. Customers send a list requesting certain items in their kit, said Vinson. Depending on the mission, the parts list for a specific kit may be up to 54 pages long.
The entire object of the readiness spares package program is to support national strategy in agreement with the guidance issued by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. They are designed for worst case scenarios, to support weapons systems in a contingency environment with no resupply, said Castillo.
The global distribution capability of the 21st LRS APS, and others like it, are essential to support the airframe with the resources necessary to perform at their highest potential in hostile areas for as long as possible in order to complete the Air Force mission.