Maintainers armor C-130 with new system
By Eric M. White, 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 19, 2014
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."