Tinker Air Force Base Opens Drone Engine Maintenance Center

Article by Jack Money from The Oklahoman

A new public-private partnership between one of the world’s premier aircraft engine makers and the U.S. Air Force is adding about 30 new jobs worth a payroll of about $2.5 million annually to Tinker Air Force Base’s Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.

The U.S. Air Force and Rolls-Royce officially opened a depot at the complex that will overhaul and repair F137 engines powering the Air Force’s fleet of Global Hawk drones.

Tinker and Rolls-Royce officials said that while the opening creates as many as 30 new jobs, they hope that number will grow over time as the number of engines rotating through the depot grows.

Room to grow

The potential is there, given that the Rolls-Royce AE 3007H (F137 engine) powering the Global Hawk also is used in the U.S. Navy’s Triton drone. Maintenance on those engines may be performed at the depot as well.

The same family of engines, which has a combined flight hours total of nearly 70 million hours, also powers the C-130J Super Hercules, the V-22 Osprey and commercial and business aviation fleets.

“Right now, the plan is to work about 12 engines a year here,” said Wade Wolfe, vice director of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. “That is going to employ at least 20 to 30 people initially. And as we grow the number of engines being maintained here, it could create jobs for as many as 100 or 150 more.

“We are hopeful this opens the door for future partnerships, because the core of this engine is common with many of the other AE type engines that Rolls-Royce has.”

Phil Burkholder, the president of Rolls-Royce’s Defense North America division, agreed with Wolfe’s statements, noting his firm is excited to be involved in the partnership, but also proud to have been named a superior supplier to the U.S. Air Force for a third consecutive year.

“We hope this is a springboard for more things to come,” Burkholder said.

Read the full article here.

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