Maintainers of the US Air Force’s (USAF) 97th Maintenance Group (MXG) at Altus Air Force Base (AFB) have demonstrated a new KC-46 Pegasus tire refurbishment process.

Altus AFB in Oklahoma became the first base to break down and reconstruct the KC-46 aerial refuelling aircraft tires.

97th Maintenance Squadron director Donald Obreiter said: “The elaborate process the tires go through will ultimately improve the sustainability of local mission – forging world’s most inspired, adaptive and proficient mobility warriors to deliver airpower for the US.

“We’re not only the first base to do this but also the only base that has the capability to build our own KC-46 wheels and tires.

“If we don’t have spare tires available, the airplane is grounded until we can get a tire out. Now that we can do this ourselves, we can keep our fleet going.”

The 97th MXG wheel and tire shop disassembles the tire and old wheels of the aircraft after it breaks down and then sends it to the corrosion shop where the paint is stripped.

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Later, the wheel is inspected, treated for corrosion and sent to a non-destructive inspection shop.

At the inspection shop, the wheel undergoes an X-ray using a dye penetrant solution and then is inspected for any cracks that can later result in failure.

Once the inspection is complete, the tire is returned to the corrosion shop for repainting.

Lastly, the tire is sent to the wheel and tire shop, where it is reassembled and inflated.

97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance superintendent Todd Dennision said: “The guys here at (Hangar) 517, our painters, machinists and sheet metal mechanics, never cease to amaze me with their ingenuity and innovation.”