By Tech. Sgt Karsten Kleinert, German Air Force Electronic Squadron
/ Published September 08, 2006
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The Electronic Squadron is one of four squadrons subordinate to the German air force Flying Training Center's Logistics Group. Directed by a squadron commander, the Electronic Squadron consists of an administration element, an engineering resource management element, a technical supply element, eight specialized aircraft avionics shops, as well as a precision measurement equipment laboratory. It has a complement of some 100 troops and two civilian employees.
The Electronic Squadron is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the avionics and electronic systems of our TORNADO aircraft. Hence the job is to keep a permanent grip on the bits and bytes that flow throughout that computer-stuffed weapon system.
The specialized electronic shops divide up among three parent sections, each of which has been attached a maintenance officer. In accordance with their special fields of activity, these are referred to as the fire control, the radio frequency and the flight control sections.
The computer and navigation systems, the radar systems and the weapon electronics shops are associated with the fire control section and therefore are responsible for the maintenance and repair of all systems giving the capability to attack under all weather conditions and during day and night both assigned and chance ground and waterborne targets as well as to engage aerial targets.
The automatic flight control systems, aircraft control systems and flight data analysis systems shops form part of the flight control section and are responsible for the primary and secondary flight control assemblies, the engine control systems and the flight data or crash recorder.
Last but not least, the radio and identification systems and the electronic warfare systems subunits take care of the radio frequency equipment, that is to say the communications, radar warning and electronic self-defense systems.
Administratively subordinate to the Electronic Squadron, a precision measurement equipment laboratory is responsible for the calibration and repair of measuring and testing equipment in support of not only the GAF FTC, but all German military elements on assignment on the North American continent.
An organic technical supply element ensures the squadron will not run out of consumable stores, spare parts, tools and shop equipment.
The function of the administration element is to provide for the squadron members' welfare and care, to manage personnel records and to handle the troops' personnel affairs.
The staff members of the individual shops were trained at the GAF School of Engineering in Kaufbeuren (Allgäu, Germany) to be experts in and on their specialist systems and fields. The training programs available there include courses for maintenance technicians and, somewhat more demanding, maintenance supervisors (senior NCOs).
While the electronic technician recruiting pool for the squadron includes all active TORNADO wings in Germany, it has been the voluntary decision of each and every staff member of the Electronic Squadron to go overseas for service, far from home, to Holloman.
The Electronic Squadron is involved in both nonscheduled and scheduled maintenance and repair operations. In nonscheduled maintenance operations, problems are handled that have occurred in daily flying and, through debriefing or job control channels, been assigned together with corresponding repair job orders to the specialist shop in charge. In response thereof, the specialist shops addressed
will set to work with their functional checks and troubleshooting procedures.
Not infrequently, it happens that also other electronic shops or Second Line Maintenance Squadron specialist elements step in to assist in the troubleshooting and the effort to recover the bit that got lost.
Once the problem is isolated, our specialists will decide on what further measures to take in order to be able to fix the problem as expediently and most efficiently as possible. The remedial action may then include adjustments, comparative testing, or replacement of the faulty equipment.
Also, it is possible for the aircrews to selectively call at any time electronic shop technicians to an aircraft, should problems with the aircraft systems have shown up during take-off runs or while in flight.
Once in a while, this option helps to isolate a problem right on the spot and, in effect, save considerable troubleshooting time.
In scheduled maintenance operations, the Electronic Squadron completes step-by-step procedures listed in an inspection card deck. This inspection card deck exactly specifies the work to be performed and the sequence of operations to be followed as part of hourly or periodic aircraft maintenance inspections.
For the Electronic Squadron to be able to accomplish its mission and effectively execute all its responsibilities, technical duty routines are continuously kept in line with ongoing flight activities, with use being made of a day and late shift schedule.
All in all, a career and job with the Electronic Squadron represents a rich and varied spectrum of activities and is demanding in terms of technical standards.
Hopefully this brief summary helped to give you an idea of the daily duty routines and the range of responsibilities of the GAF FTC's Electronic Squadron.