PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- Members of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) E-6B Program Office and Strategic Communications Wing 1 marked a first in U.S. military aviation history May 28, when they commemorated an E-6B Mercury engine that surpassed 15,000 hours of flight time without the need for major repair or removal from the wing.
Oklahoma City community members, defense industry members from CFMI, Boeing and GE, joined Wing and NAVAIR personnel to celebrate the milestone event during the ceremony held at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
In early May, the CFM-56-2A-2 turbo fan engine, one of the four engines that powers the E-6B Mercury, surpassed the 15,000-hour mark. This is the first time in U.S. military aviation history this milestone has been achieved.
"I want to thank each member of the squadron, the program team and industry team members for your contributions in getting us to this day," said Tom Laux, program executive officer for NAVAIR's Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs. "Celebrating the first time in military aviation history that an engine has remained on wing for 15,000 hours is only an indicator of the great professionalism at work here."
Rear Adm. Wally Massenburg, NAVAIR's assistant commander for Industrial Operations, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony, and emphasized the individual and team contributions to this important milestone.
"From a "boots on the ground" perspective, the VQ-3 [Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 3] TACAMO Ironmen mechanics are highly trained, dedicated professional Sailors," Massenburg noted.
The CFM-56-2A-2 engine entered service in 1982. There are now 13,000 CFM-56 engines of all types, in service or on order, including spares. With proven low fuel burn for extended range and excellent takeoff performance from hot airfields, the CFM-56 has also been selected by the Air Force, Finnish Air Force and the Royal Air Force to power their re-engined or new KC-135R, C-135FR, KE-3 and E-6 tactical and strategic aircraft.
The E-6B Mercury is a modified civilian 707 aircraft frame. There are 16 aircraft assigned to Strategic Communications Wing 1, also known as TACAMO for Take Charge and Move Out. TACAMO is headquartered aboard Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. The TACAMO community provides a survivable communications link between national decision-makers and the country's arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons.
"It is so rewarding to see how a solid acquisition strategy conceived early on in a program, and coupled with consistent maintenance/depot performance and superior engine design, can achieve such unprecedented excellence," said Capt. William Okoniewski, NAVAIR's E-6 program manager.
NAVAIR provides advanced warfare technology through the efforts of a seamless, integrated, worldwide network of aviation technology experts.
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