The F-15E Strike Eagle depends on many parts to maintain operational status. One mission critical part is the stabilator actuator. Without this part, the F-15E cannot fly. The hydraulic actuator, which moves the stabilator of an F-15E, defects collectively for pitch control and differentially to add roll control power to the jet ailerons.
“All over the world, this is the number one non-mission capable driver component for the F-15E,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Fannin, 4th Component Maintenance Squadron centralized repair facility NCO in charge. “When these components break down, depot is not able to push them out fast enough.”
To help alleviate this problem, Airmen from the 4th CMS hydraulics shop at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base designed an apparatus that would enable them to test stabilator actuators.
“The new apparatus tests the electrical output of the physical dimensions of where the actuator is at in the aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Hall, 4th CMS centralized repair facility expeditor. “With this new process, we are pushing out stabilator actuators in about eight hours instead of 72 days, which is what depot is turning.”
Fannin added the team has produced 12 serviceable assets out of the 14 or 15 that were tested. Four of these have already successfully flown on F-15Es assigned to Seymour Johnson AFB.
Having the test apparatus on base results in quicker turnaround times for stabilator actuators, which in turn means more training for air crew members, more F-15Es in the air and more aircraft ready for the next mission.
Right now, Seymour Johnson AFB is the only base apart from the depot facility at Hill AFB, Utah, that can overhaul the hydraulics side of stabilator actuators.
“In the future, we will have more of these made and test apparatus will be deployable,” Hall said. “If our Airmen get a stabilator down range, it can be quickly returned to working conditions while in a deployed location instead of being sent back to our home station. Having this test apparatus allows us to maintain our aircraft and provide combat air power for America.”