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Maintainers armor C-130 with new system

Edward Stone, a program manager with MACRO Industries, LLC., instructs Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman, and Master Sgt. Ken Younkins, an aircraft work inspector, both with the 910th Maintenance Group, on a new armor plating system installed on a Youngstown C-130 Hercules the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Edward Stone, a program manager with MACRO Industries, LLC., instructs Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman, and Master Sgt. Ken Younkins, an aircraft work inspector, both with the 910th Maintenance Group, on a new armor plating system installed on a Youngstown C-130 Hercules the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman with the 910th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, examines a new armor plating system with a contractor in the flight deck of a C-130 Hercules aircraft here, Nov. 6, 2014. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman with the 910th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, examines a new armor plating system with a contractor in the flight deck of a C-130 Hercules aircraft here, Nov. 6, 2014. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman with the 910th Maintenance Squadron, loosens an armor plating fastener in the flight deck of a C130 Hercules aircraft here, Nov. 6, 2014. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman with the 910th Maintenance Squadron, loosens an armor plating fastener in the flight deck of a C130 Hercules aircraft here, Nov. 6, 2014. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

A Youngstown C-130 Hercules sits on jacks in a hangar here, Nov. 6, 2014. The C-130 received a test version of a new armor plating system the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown Air Reserve Station is the second base to receive the system for testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

A Youngstown C-130 Hercules sits on jacks in a hangar here, Nov. 6, 2014. The C-130 received a test version of a new armor plating system the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown Air Reserve Station is the second base to receive the system for testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Tech. Sgt. Ross Gordon, an aircraft metals tech craftsman with the 910th Maintenance Squadron, operates a water jet cutting machine to trim a piece of metal here, Nov. 6, 2014. The metal is part of a new armor plating system installed on a Youngstown C-130 Hercules the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Tech. Sgt. Ross Gordon, an aircraft metals tech craftsman with the 910th Maintenance Squadron, operates a water jet cutting machine to trim a piece of metal here, Nov. 6, 2014. The metal is part of a new armor plating system installed on a Youngstown C-130 Hercules the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Tech. Sgt. Ross Gordon, an aircraft metals tech craftsman with the 910th Maintenance Squadron, operates a water jet cutting machine to trim a piece of metal here, Nov. 6, 2014. The metal is part of a new armor plating system installed on a Youngstown C-130 Hercules the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Tech. Sgt. Ross Gordon, an aircraft metals tech craftsman with the 910th Maintenance Squadron, operates a water jet cutting machine to trim a piece of metal here, Nov. 6, 2014. The metal is part of a new armor plating system installed on a Youngstown C-130 Hercules the week of Nov. 2. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman with the 910th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, secures safety wire under the nose of a C-130 Hercules aircraft here, Nov. 6, 2014. The safety wiring was attached as part of an armor plating system installation. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, an aircraft maintenance craftsman with the 910th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, secures safety wire under the nose of a C-130 Hercules aircraft here, Nov. 6, 2014. The safety wiring was attached as part of an armor plating system installation. Youngstown is the second base to receive a test version of the new system, designed for easier and more secure installation and better protection for aircrew members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric M. White)

YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio -- Maintainers from the 910th Maintenance Squadron worked with contractors the week of Nov. 2 to install a test version of a new C-130 armor plating system here. Youngstown volunteered to be the second installation to receive the system, which is designed for easier installation and better protection for aircrew members.

The system is designed for a 25-manhour installation, featuring an A kit and B kit. The A kit includes connecting hardware that is permanently installed on the aircraft. The B kit features composite plating that can be attached to the A kit components as needed. This modular system allows maintainers to install the B kit, providing armor plating to the aircraft in any location where the kit is available and needed. The system design requires fewer B kits, as not every aircraft with an A kit installed will be in constant need of the armor plating, reducing weight and providing a cost savings.

According to 910th maintainers, each piece of the armor is labeled and identified in a technical order, giving them exact directions on where each piece belongs. The armor pieces are also lighter and smaller, allowing a one or two person crew to complete installation. The armor snaps together in a modular fashion, saving time and adding ruggedness compared to the previous Velcro-fastened version.

The old Velcro attachments could wear out and become unstable over time. Once the Velcro wore out, armor pieces could rub on the aircraft's nose wheel. The Velcro issue could also create an unsafe environment for aircrew members as armor pieces could detach and fall during flight. The new system uses a quick-release locking pin mechanism to secure the heavy plating to the aircraft.

Master Sgt. Ed Shaffer, a crew chief with the 910th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, took part in the installation.

"The install went very well," said Shaffer. "The crew that came in were true professionals, they took the time to ensure that even the smallest details were covered and took great pride of work when it came to the aircraft and the needs of the unit, often requesting input from the maintainers."

Once beyond this initial testing phase, Air Force maintainers will test installation processes without assistance from contractors to ensure real-world installation capabilities.

"This enhanced armor system will not only ensure our aircrews increased safety from airborne and ground threats," said Col. David Post, 910th Maintenance Group commander, "but is lighter and easier to install for our maintainers."