An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Bagram’s fab flight assists Afghan Air Force

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford
  • 455 AEW/PA
Airmen with the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight recently used their experience and ingenuity to build a prototype boresight rack adapter for the Afghan Air Force.

The boresight rack adapter will be used by the AAF to accurately site their dual-barrel cannons and rockets on their Mi-17.

“This rack will enhance their capability to align their munitions system by harmonizing their rocket pods and guns,” said Staff Sgt. Lisa McDermott, 455th EMXS aircraft metals technology craftsmen. “We didn’t have a physical example to build the adapter, but we had some blue prints. My Airmen worked hard to come up with a plan and procedure to fabricate each and every piece and put it together. This is the prototype and whoever is going to build the rest of the racks will use our example to manufacture them.”

Although the Fabrication Shop focuses primarily on building parts and equipment to meet U.S. needs, this project has broadened their reach to include assisting the Afghan National and Defense Security Forces.

“We’ve never made anything to this extent or with this great of impact, and it is absolutely worth it,” said Airman 1st Class Daniel Gregory, 455th EMXS aircraft metals technology journeyman. “It will help the AAF out tremendously. It was something that they needed made, and it was cool to be a part of it.”

The request for the prototype came from Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air in Kabul, which recognized there would be challenges in getting it built.

“It was a little challenging trying to recreate something that an engineer from another country created 40 years ago,” said Master Sgt. Cory Ross, TAAC-Air weapons advisor. “We couldn’t get the support equipment needed for the helicopter at every location, so we reached back to Bagram, and they have done really well in supporting what we have needed.”

Currently, TAAC-Air uses coalition equipment to boresight the AAF Mi-17 helicopters. One of the goals of TAAC-Air is to build organic logistics sustainability, which the prototype aids.

“If the AAF didn’t have the capability to boresight their helicopters they would have issues putting shots on target,” said Ross, who hails from Rutherfordton, North Carolina. “It could affect their ability to provide aerial support for the troops on the ground.”

The 455th EMXS and TAAC-Air Airmen were not the only ones to play a role in getting the prototype built. The U.S. Army’s Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command and other coalition nations also played critical roles for the complete team effort.

“TACOM’s support has been awesome—they have been with us every step of the way,” said Ross. “The machinist at Bagram gave us everything we have needed, and we’re impressed with the capabilities that they have there. The timeline has been phenomenal. We couldn’t have asked for better help, and we’re lucky to have all the support we needed.”

The prototype was verified to work correctly and within standards. With the help of the prototype, more boresight rack adapters could be manufactured to provide organic capabilities for the three Afghan air wings and five detachments spread throughout Afghanistan. Aircraft will no longer be required to fly to Kabul to be calibrated, allowing them to stay closer to the fight.