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U.S. and RSAF maintenance strengthen partnership

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Cary Smith
  • 378th AEW/PA

Members of the 378th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron and Royal Saudi Air Force constructed a Foreign Object Debris shaker at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sept. 8, 2020.

A FOD shaker is a piece of equipment placed at entry control points to the flightline that knocks loose debris from vehicle tires when driven over.

The shaker is one of several recent maintenance projects the U.S. Air Force and RSAF worked on together.

“They [RSAF] were gracious to open their doors to us, which has allowed us to make use of their tools, equipment and shared knowledge to complete our mission here,” said Senior Master Sgt. Issitt, 378th EMXS fabrication flight chief. “This has been a great opportunity for us to establish and strengthen relationships with our partner nations.”

According to Issitt, the RSAF contacted maintenance leadership for both air forces to begin this partner project. Maintenance Airmen took measurements at the flightline ECP, procured materials from a local source and then started work with the equipment at the RSAF’s fabrication shop.

They cut down L-shaped metal to the appropriate size and tack welded them onto support beams before a final weld and installation of the shaker at the ECP.

To Issitt’s team, the process was simple enough, but the impact was big.

“With billions of dollars of USAF, RSAF and other joint and coalition aircraft on the line, any added layers of FOD protection is significant,” said Issitt. “This is just one example of two units coming together towards a common goal of ensuring the mission is successful.”

Some of the other projects included hydraulic brake lines for two Saudi KE-3 Refueling Aircraft, various machining jobs and plans to improve aerospace ground equipment at Prince Sultan Air Base.

“This team, the fabrication flight and maintenance squadron at large, has continued to find ways to expand their reach and make sure what we’re doing here is something special,” said Maj Walton, commander, 378th EMXS. “We’re truly building bridges between two countries and working together to further our own knowledge. We have created this learning environment where Saudi and U.S. forces have a genuine partnership that is enduring across multiple rotations [of deployed troops].”

With the next project that involves AGE equipment maintenance, both the U.S. and Royal Saudi Air Force will continue to build upon an already strong partnership and offer security in the region together.