The KC135R Air Refueler is powered by General Electric F108 jet engines. This powerplant is known as a low-maintenance engine. Changing an engine is a rare occasion for us. Some hot spots (such as Al Udeid) have a higher ratio of changes, but when it comes to Guard, Reserve, and smaller Active Duty bases, it is very uncommon to change out an engine. In the four years we’ve had 135Rs at the 191st at Selfridge ANGB, we’ve never changed an engine. We have all of the tools, benchstock, and manpower needed to change an engine, but we do not have the training, experience, or even a spare engine to practice on. When the time comes to change an engine, it is going to be a two week event: tying up a valuable Air Force asset, as well as a team of technicians.
What I propose is to have a Tiger Team of engine change troops. They will load their team, tools, and a spare engine onto a 135, fly to the base, swap out the engine, then take the stricken engine back to McConnell.
By doing this, you will be reducing the benchstock needed at most bases. You will cut down on the number of tools stocked at every 135R base (most engine change tool kits have to be housed in 8X12 enclosed trailers. These tools all need to have yearly certifications accomplished, whether they are used or not). You will return an asset to the field in a much shorter time (most Guard bases are staffed by civilian technicians who work set shifts; an Active Duty team can work until the job is done. A team who has changed multiple engines and has a process in place will work much faster than a team doing it for the first time or even a team that only does one a year). By setting McConnell AFB as the center for receiving and shipping out engines, you also eliminate preserving engines, wrapping engines, and engine accountability from other bases. In shipping alone, you will save money: you will be able to load multiple engines onto a trailer and drive from McConnell AFB to Tinker AFB, which is only 160 miles.