Innovate and overcome: Avionics flight adopts new backup system for transporting F-16 electric countermeasure pods

  • Published
  • By Airman Sydney Franklin
  • 52nd Fighter Wing

 The F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the Air Force’s most renowned fighter aircraft, having proven itself a formidable foe in combat since the 1990s. One tool that gives F-16s the edge they need to dominate the skies is its electric countermeasure (ECM) pods that jams their radars and identifies threatening surface-to-air and air-to-air missile systems.

The 52nd Maintenance Squadron Avionics Flight expertly maintains the highly advanced systems here in their back shop. Since 2021, the flight has relied on a service elevator and mechanical blast door entry way to transport the ECM pods around the squadron’s building.

Now, the 52nd MXS Avionics Flight can continuously transport ECM pods more efficiently, thanks to the zero-cost ramp system installed Jan. 31.

“The Avionics Flight was originally directed to outsource the work, but the cost estimates and timelines from outside vendors were too high and too steep,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Amador, 52nd Fighter Wing Innovation officer. “We knew we could connect with the 52nd CES to get this project off the ground faster and completed at little-to-no cost to the Air Force.”

The technology was implemented by the 52nd MXS Avionics Flight with the help of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, the 52nd MXS Fabrication Flight and the 52nd Fighter Wing Saberwerx Innovation Office.

The 52nd CES helped remove door thresholds that previously stood at the entrance and replaced them with the zero-cost ramp system. The installation took less than a week, as the 52nd CES completed the teardown and installation in three days, and the 52nd MXS Fabrication Flight manufactured the ramp in four days.

“Having this new system in place lets us move the pods safely up and down the building, so we can get our work done and get them delivered back to the F-16s in a timely fashion,” said Tech. Sgt. Julian Jungtaubl, 52nd MXS Avionics Flight electronic warfare maintenance NCO in charge.

The Saberwerx Innovation program collaborates with units on base to turn ideas that aim to eliminate waste or streamline processes into successful projects.

“Pioneering continuous improvement and innovation within our community at Saberwerx Innovation, we are more than just a Spark Cell. We are a beacon of change and a hub of ingenuity for those driven by the desire to improve and innovate,” said Staff Sgt. Kailen Kistler, 52nd FW Innovation officer. “Our goal is to connect [Spangdahlem Airmen] who identify inefficiencies and help them transform the ‘what ifs’ into tangible, impactful realities. At Saberwerx Innovation, we don’t just dream about a better future; we make it happen, one project at a time.”