Armament flight brings firepower

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nicholas Paczkowski
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Within the 49th Equipment Maintenance Squadron lies the armament flight, which is responsible for maintaining all of the F-16 Viper weapon systems on Holloman. 
Whether it be a non-functioning weapons system or a routine inspection of the weapons system, armament is there to assist. To help fix those problems there’s the alternate mission equipment crew, gun crew, and support section, all of which help with armament’s mission. 
The alternate mission equipment crew deals with the moving and maintenance of the pylons, missile launchers, and bomb racks, while the gun crew handles anything related to the actual gun of the F-16. Last but not least, the support section helps with the purchasing of parts, equipment, tools, and more.
“The equipment of the aircraft is constantly getting dirty, because of all the pilot training we do,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Harrison Goff, 49th EMS armament maintenance supervisor. “If we don’t do thorough inspections and make sure the weapons systems are in good shape, these pilots can not fly and get certified.”
Despite having their own shop to conduct maintenance, if an issue arises out on the flight line, the armament Airmen can be called out to do an inspection on the weapons systems. 
“There’s a huge change of pace between what we do on the flight line and what we do in the main shop,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dustin Trout, 49th EMS armament maintenance technician. “Typically out on the flight line, we’ll do quick fixes to the weapons systems, but if they require a more thorough inspection we take them back into the shop.”                 
Airmen in the armament flight help to keep the F-16s on schedule and ensure pilots are able to train with munitions. 
“I like working in the back shop compared to the flight line because it gives me more insight into my job,” said Goff. “It also gives you a sense of purpose and you’re expected to get the systems back as soon as possible, but you also can’t rush the maintenance.”