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News | April 2, 2021

Refurbishing program helps Air Force save money on critical aircraft parts

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Looking to pump the brakes on some of the expenses and waste associated with aircraft repair, the Air Force Commodity Council asked Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Ogden on Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, to find a partner that could help refurbish and reuse carbon heat stacks.

Carbon heat stacks are a critical component of the brake system on Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and C-130 Hercules aircraft, but they are also costly. DLA Aviation at Ogden partnered with Collins Aerospace to refurbish and reuse the stacks in the specified aircraft.

Matthew Streeper, chief, Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate at DLA Aviation at Ogden said developing a process to repurpose the unused carbon within each used heat stack provided the Air Force an opportunity to eliminate the cost of manufacturing a new heat stack while also introducing a process to increase the overall availability of serviceable heat stacks.

Carbon reuse is a commercial-best practice used by Collins Aerospace. Collins was awarded the contract in July 2018 and since then has helped save the Air Force millions of dollars, Streeper said. The contract extends through July 2023, with an option to extend another five years to July 2028.

“Collins Aerospace is the sole source provider of the carbon heat stacks. The design for stacks for the F-16 and the C-130 are proprietary to Collins,” he said.

The process of pulling useable carbon from spent heat stacks happens at the contractor’s facility in California. Carbon is inspected and reused by replacing minimal hardware and then clipping two worn carbon discs together using a two-for-one process. Heat stacks are depot level reparables managed by the Air Force.

The refurbished stacks are returned to Air Force supply as serviceable assets that can be used to fulfill future field and depot customer demands.

To date, Collins has been able to support heat stack requirements 100% of the time.

Due to significant cost savings while maintaining 100% warfighter support, Collins Aerospace, the Air Force and DLA received the 2020 Secretary of Defense Performance Based Logistics Award at the subsystem level.