USAF and RAF personnel fix landing gear problem in RC-135 Airseeker aircraft


The US Air Force (USAF) 55th Maintenance Squadron (MXS) and the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) 51 Squadron have corrected a landing gear problem in an RAF RC-135 Airseeker aircraft.

The aircraft was diverted to Offutt Air Force Base (AFB) in Nebraska after experiencing landing gear problems during a joint exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

51 Squadron maintenance superintendent RAF warrant officer Ray Sowersby said: “We had a really productive deployment right until the last two missions.

“We had an undercarriage fault indication and the only jacks available were at Offutt so I reached out to our cousins in the 55th and said ‘Hey guys, can we have some help?’”

According to Sowersby, the RAF usually receives equipment from home station to make repairs.

However, the aircraft was sent to Offutt AFB due to its distance from Nellis AFB and the availability of maintenance personnel familiar with the RC-135 platform.

Maintenance personnel from the 51 Squadron and 55th MXS raised and lowered the landing gear of the suspended RC-135, and quickly removed a faulty main landing gear sequence valve, the USAF stated.

Additionally, the RAF aircrew tested a newly adopted co-manning arrangement that is designed to help bridge the gap in maintenance capabilities between the RAF and the USAF.

USAF 55th Maintenance Squadron assistant operations officer 1st lieutenant Dustin Bagnall said: “This was a great opportunity to test the co-manning initiative that has been in the works over the past two years.”

"This was a great opportunity to test the co-manning initiative that has been in the works over the past two years."

Since 2011, the US and the UK have been working together to help train and equip maintenance and aircrew members on the newly acquired RC-135.

Both the countries have swapped aircrew members in both training and real-world missions before.

Built by Boeing, RC-135 is a four engine, medium weight reconnaissance aircraft that can perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.


Image: RAF and USAF maintenance personnel troubleshoot landing gear problems on a RAF RC-135 Airseeker. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Delanie Stafford.