For our customers, in particular the pilots, the most visible employees are those directly linked to the commissioning of the aircraft. The crewchiefs, armament technicians, lox specialists and bowser drivers take care of these activities on a daily basis.
Flight Line Operations
The Crew Chief is an aircraft technician who specializes in the day-to-day maintenance and pre flight check of the F-16. He is the first one in the morning and often the last one in the evening to give the aircraft a full overhaul under his or her responsibility to make sure the F-16 fleet is always ready. He is also responsible for a full check-up before and after each flight and, if necessary, for carrying out minor repairs or replacing parts. Prior to each flight he will check the entire aircraft together with the pilot, help the pilot get ready for the flight and go through the start-up procedure.
The Crew Chief bears a great responsibility but often has a lot of freedom within his function. Together with other specialized aircraft technicians, they ensure that the F-16s are not only always ready in Kleine Brogel, but also in foreign countries during training missions or operations..
The Lox driver is an auxiliary technician who mainly assists the Crew Chief with the daily aircraft maintenance. The name of the function comes from the main task, the replenishment of the liquid oxygen reservoir of the F-16 fighter jet. In addition to this, the Lox Drivers are responsible for moving all kinds of ground equipment and towing F-16s all over the base.
They are also an important part in the daily preparation of the F-16s, both in Kleine-Brogel and abroad.
All the work of the Crew chiefs and Lox Drivers is managed by the Line Chief. He will, in accordance with the flight planning, plan the work of the Crew Chiefs and the Lox Drivers and coordinate it with the work of other aircraft maintenance services within Kleine-Brogel air base.
The Line Chief is usually a Crew Chief with many years of experience, good people skills and can keep a cool head in challenging conditions. After each flight, he will discuss all the technical information about the course of the flight with the pilot and immediately pass on any comments or technical defects to other services.
Although the Line Chief does not work directly on the F-16 aircraft, his role is decisive in the smooth operation of the busy daily flying program, both in Kleine-Brogel and during missions abroad.
The personnel of the flight intervention armament ensures that the armament on the F16 is hung/picked up on a daily basis to ensure the pilot can carry out his flight in the configuration as planned. The weapons chief is the person who coordinates these activities. In order to guarantee maximum safety, training courses are regularly organised by the “StandTeam” Armament.
The armament for which this personnel is responsible on a daily basis:
- 20mm M61A1 cannon
- Air-to-air missiles
- Chaff and flare
The technical management is responsible for the technical follow-up of the “Flight Armament” on a daily basis.They fulfil the following tasks::
- Follow-up of the configurations for missions and operations
- Follow-up of technical problems related to aircraft armament and all related systems
- Monitoring technical problems in the backshops of
- AME material (workshop)
- Ammunition (mundep/missile building)
- Escape systems (Egress)
- Small arms
- Organize the storage, management, supply and assembly of ammunition, taking into account the constraints and the storage plan (Explosive Site Plan or ESP).
- Drawing up reports on incidents and accidents involving ammunition and armament
- Examine specific technical issues related to the performance of its task and report to the higher authorities through MDR (Material Deficiency Report) or through bilateral contacts.
The section AME (Alternate Mission Equipment)-Gun will not immediately ring a bell to most people. It's a section which doesn’t stand in the limelight. Within the world of armament, the section is mainly known as "den atelier".
The daily mission of the section, consisting of 13 people, is the maintenance of all equipment located between the aircraft and the armament, as well as the M61A1 VULCAN onboard gun. More specifically, this maintenance takes place on 5 different types of pylons, 2 different types of missile launchers and several other bomb racks and intermediate adapters.
In addition to maintenance, "den atelier" also carries out modifications and all repairs that occur both at home and abroad with regard to the aforementioned equipment. This is removed from the aircraft and then brought in here.
An additional important task is, as mentioned before, the M61A1 weapon system that is stripped from the core every phase inspection (major maintenance of the F-16), after which it is completely checked by our technicians. If necessary, the damaged parts are replaced. We also perform a smaller inspection every time 30,000 bullets were fired. Among their normal day's work, the personnel of the section are also ready to be deployed in an operation or training mission, in that case they are part of an armement intervention team.
We also help with the preparation of the FAK's (Fly Away Kits), and do this in cooperation with the storage unit of the squadron Line & Armament. The intendended objective is to have good equipment that is still Cat1 (operational) until the end of the mission if possible.
Besides the guardhouse, this zone consists of 7 igloos, 2 ammunition storage facilities and 1 workshop. On a daily basis, 9 people are involved in manipulating, maintaining and assembling the ammunition in this depot. The ammunition consists of aircraft ammunition and ammunition for ground forces.
The ammunition for the ground forces includes those for the FNC and the 5.7, which are used for shooting exercises, the on base guard, support of operations such as "Homeland" and others.
The aircraft ammunition consists of the Mk 82 (500 pounds) and the Mk 84 (1000 pounds) on which systems are mounted that guide the bombs to their target, either via GPS, laser or a combination of both.
The pyrotechnics (explosives), needed for the ejection seat of the F-16 and the canopy, are also stored in the zone. The Ammunition Depot of 10WTac is the access point for the entire Air Force concerning pyrotechnics. This means that all this ammunition (delivered from America) which arrives in Melsbroek, is collected and managed by the personnel of the Ammunition Depot.
The main objective of the Egress section is the maintenance of the F-16 escape system, which gives the pilot a chance to save himself in case of emergency. The ejection seat and the canopy are inspected each time the aircraft undergoes major maintenance (phase inspection).
The lifespan of the explosives (CADPADS) of the Egress system, which cause the canopy to be dropped and the ejection seat to be launched, is checked so they do not become 'overdue' before the aircraft has to undergo the next major maintenance. Additionally, each ejection seat is subjected to a major inspection every 36 months, during which all mechanical and electrical systems are tested and modified if necessary.
The canopy is checked every phase inspection for the proper functioning of its hooks and the locking system. The “transparent” (the glass dome of the canopy) is examined for "cracks" and replaced if necessary..
The section handles the storage, management, inspection and repair of missiles and their accessories. The AIM-120 (Amraam), AIM-9M (Mike) and the brand new AIM-9X all pass through our backshop.
All these weapons have a training alternative for the daily training flights of our F-16s. In the past, the AIM-65 Maverick and FPR-pod (flight profile recorder) were also managed by our section.
Stand Team Line & Armament
Each Tactical Wing has a “Stand Team” Armament, their main task is to provide standardized training, education and (re)certification of loading teams. The “Stand Team” Armament is composed of a Load Standardization Crew (LSC). These persons have extensive experience as weaponers and are selected within the Flight Armament.
- Education, training, certification and recertification of the cargo personnel.
- Education and training of new weapons, loading/test equipment.
- Education and training of the Arming/De-arming team (cargo teams and crewchiefs).
- LWEP (Live Weapons Emergency Procedure) training for firefighters.
- Safety briefings LWEP F-16
- Standardization of loading and unloading operations
- Scheduling of the planning for training courses