Tinker to Get 1,000 Jobs from Maintenance of B-2s
May, Bill, THE JOURNAL RECORD
Journal Record Staff Reporter
It's two years early, but military and civilian employees at the
Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air
Force Base have proven
they can maintain engines on the B-2 Stealth bomber.
By doing so, they have assured at least 1,000 jobs at Tinker for
the next 30 or so years, probably longer.
That's the assessment of Maj. Gen. Richard M. Scofield, B-2
program director who was at Tinker Wednesday to
officiate over a ceremony
marking completion of a one-year test program to prove the
center's capability to maintain the engines.
"We've (Air Force officers) always said there are two B-2
programs: one inside the Beltway (highway encircling
Washington, D.C.) and
one outside the Beltway," Scofield said during the ceremony. "The
program inside the Beltway is concerned only with
the budget and
financial figures, while the one outside continually sets new
"The program here is a good example of the outside B-2 program.
"There is no question but the budget numbers are big when you talk
about the B-2. But what is the real cost and
what are the real benefits?
What is the true investment is improvement of Air Force
capabilities with further payoff in new aircraft and combat
"Early organic support of the B-2 program means we are only
beginning to realize the benefits of this investment,"
Scofield said. "You
have shown that you can support the B-2 engine effectively and
efficiently after the first flight of the third
"You are ready two years early."
There are now 66 of the General Electric Corp.-built F118GE100
engines in the U.S. Air Force inventory, and a
maintenance line has been
established to overhaul and maintain the powerplants. There are
only three B-2s in existence; the third airplane
entered the testing phase
Tuesday. The other two have been undergoing tests since July 1989.
Operational units of the Strategic Air Command, based at Whiteman
Air Force Base, Mo., is to receive the first B-2
Each B-2 is powered by four turbofan engines, each capable of
generating 19,000 pounds of thrust.
The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker's largest tenant
unit, has primary maintenance responsibilities for
Although the test program to prove the local center's capabilities
began a year ago, development work on the engine
and its maintenance
began about 10 years ago at Tinker. A small group began studying
the system in secrecy to develop training and
maintenance manuals and
systems for the local operation, according to Col. Ed Petersen,
the system's program manager in Oklahoma City.
Maintaining both the B-2's engine and airframe in one location
will provide jobs at Tinker in the long-term future,
according to Maj. Gen.
Joseph K. Spiers, commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics
"We are truly, truly excited about this," Spiers said. "Every
engine needs a place it can come to when it's sick.
This engine is very
fortunate in that it can come here when it needs attention.
"The F118 engine is scheduled for two-level training, organic and
depot level, which means basically on-equipment
or off-equipment. …