LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFNS) —
A small maintenance operation, Air Force Reserve Command’s T-56-15A engine Centralized Repair Facility, supported by the 913th Airlift Group, sustains agile combat support by upgrading the C-130H Hercules engines and returning combat airlift to the Air Force fleet.
Since AFRC acquired the T-56 CRF maintenance contract in 2015, more than 190 C-130H engines were upgraded with the 3.5 modifications which provide significant improvements in fuel economy and performance. In addition, 395 of C-130H four-bladed props also received intensive maintenance. Each engine completes a thorough performance check at the T-56 test cell prior to delivery. The upgrades to the C-130 fleet at such a low cost will help ensure longevity across the tactical airlift fleet.
“I’m incredibly proud of the hard work our contractors perform here on a daily basis and much of it goes unseen,” said Tim Taylor, contracting officer representative. “Many personnel have more than 20 years of active-duty military maintenance experience and their efforts directly sustain the mobility force.”
The CRF team epitomizes cost-effectiveness as the average overhaul cost for a T-56 engine here is approximately $800,000 as compared to $1.5 million per engine from the commercial repair facility. After streamlining the repair process in 2001 to mimic an assembly line, the facility averages 12-16 days, or two days per each section to completely overhaul one engine.
The AFRC and Air National Guard still operate a multitude of C-130Hs while the active-duty component has been transitioning the tactical airlift weapon system to the C-130J Super Hercules model. This latest version of the airframe performs the same diverse roles such as airlift, aeromedical, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray, humanitarian assistance and more. Though the airframes are similar, the cutting-edge technology makes the J model perform in a different manner and the parts are incompatible.
“The C-130 is the workhorse of the Air Force and we are doing our part to provide long-term operational sustainment,” said Terence Hall, quality manager. “We have nearly 700 more engines to modify across the force and we are the only facility performing this modification. Not only do we service the engines and props, but also reviving associated aircraft ground equipment and creating quick engine change kits.”
Eight government employees manage the T-56 CRF contract, worth more than $4.4 million per year, while supervising 67 contractors.