Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

B-1 Already Boosts Tinker: 160 Workers, $1 Billion in Parts

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

B-1 Already Boosts Tinker: 160 Workers, $1 Billion in Parts

Article excerpt

When the first U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber took to the air Saturday near Abilene, Texas, it was a special event for the Ok lahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base.

A force of 160 employees dealing directly with the B-1 bomber has been on board for about two years at the center, which has been assigned the responsibility of maintenance, overhauling and repairing of the new bombers.

"We already have spent $1.1 billion for spare parts for the B-1 engines," said John Clabes, director of public relatiions at Tinker. "Each of the four engines costs $8 million."

The force of 160 is expected to be increased to 650 by the end of 1988, Tinker officials said, and the Oklahoma economy is expected to be impacted by at least $1 billion from Rockwell alone.

The 100 new B-1 bombers are being produced at the Palmdale, Calif., Rockwell plant, near Edwards Air Force Base. The last one is expected to roll off the assembly lines late in 1988.

The B-1 is replacing the 30-year-old B-52 bomber, which has been managed by the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center for overhaul, maintenance and spare parts for 30 years. There are only about 250 of the B-52s left.

Maj. Gen. Richard Burpee, who commands the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, is attempting to arrange a visit to Tinker by one of the bombers on a training flight from Dyess Air Force Base near Abilene.

Burpee said he hopes the plane can be put on public view here soon, since it means so much to Tinker.

Tulsa also is participating in the B-1 program, with the Rockwell plant there assembling components for the plane.

David Blankenship, director of external affairs for Rockwell at Tulsa, said the plant there has 3,500 employees, with 2,800 of them directly involved with the B-1 program. …

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