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AFREP optimizes resources, ensures aircraft generation as sole AFCENT program

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lawrence Sena
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Made up of Airmen from various maintenance backgrounds, the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Air Force Repair Enhancement Program flight works to repair a wide array of assets, enabling the sustainment of aircraft and mission generation.

AFREP’s mission is to optimize Air Force resources and repair capability by troubleshooting aircraft components and using advanced repair techniques to replace those components, saving the Air Force thousands of dollars.

“The whole point of AFREP is to help the Air Force to be self-sufficient,” said 1st. Lt. William Keller, Maintenance director of operations. “Since we are the only AEW in the AOR with this capability, we plan to codify processes allowing us to become the centralized repair facility for the region.”

The capabilities of AFREP also expand beyond aircraft maintenance. They are able to use their skills and work to repair specialized assets essential to individual unit missions including office equipment, resulting in over $200,000 saved in replacement costs.

“Currently our technicians have the capability to repair anything from micro-soldering circuit cards, pilot grip assemblies, and KC-135 Stratotanker fuel panels, to repairing printers, shredders, government phones, and tablets used by maintainers to view technical orders required to repair aircraft,” Keller said.

The AFREP technicians’ ability to innovate and repair critical aircraft components recently played a vital role in the generation of a KC-135 mission while it was forward deployed, allowing the aircraft and its crew to continue air refueling operations.

“Without our technicians, these aircraft would be grounded out of the fight,” Keller shared. “While forward deployed, a KC-135 fuel panel broke, rendering the aircraft non-mission capable until fixed. Fortunately, the aircraft maintenance Airmen working on the jet were equipped with a panel that our [AFREP] technicians previously fixed. This allowed the maintainers to swap the panels and enable the aircraft to conduct its tasked missions.”

AFREP technicians are not part of one specific career field. They come from various maintenance backgrounds, such as avionics, and are required to come together and use their knowledge on how different components work in order to find a solution.

“No one specifically has AFREP in their job description,” Keller stated. “Being an AFREP technician requires the ability to think outside of the box to find ways to repair assets that are no longer supported. It also allows our technicians to branch out beyond the normal constraints of everyday maintenance, which opens up numerous avenues of innovation in order to ensure continuous sustainment of our warfighting aircraft.” 

Through the innovations and successes of AFREP, the Air Force can continue to generate combat airpower and maintain a highly agile fighting force postured to protect and defend freedom coalition allies and regional partners within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.