566th EMXS maintains sophisticated threat detections systems, keeps warfighter safe

  • Published
  • By Joseph Mather
  • Robins Public Affairs

When military type cargo planes and rotary wing type aircraft fly around the world supporting our countries various operations and missions, there's a constant threat to the aircraft, crew and its cargo.

The Large Aircraft section with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex’s 566th Electronics Maintenance Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, ensures those aircraft flying into harm’s way have working countermeasures to protect our aircraft, cargo and personnel.

Ed Messer, 566th Electronics Maintenance Squadron Large Aircraft element chief, said his squadron entered a partnership with Northrup Grumman seven years ago to repair Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures systems known as LAIRCM.

“LAIRCM is a countermeasure system that goes on large cargo aircraft as well as rotary-wing aircraft,” said Messer. “When a missile is fired at the aircraft, the sensors pick it up and send a signal to the processor, and the Guardian Laser Tracking Assembly knocks the missile down with a laser.”

Messer said the LAIRCM is a system that consist of multiple sensors, a processor and the GLTA.

“The GLTA goes on to the back part of an aircraft,” he said. “The sensors are put on various areas across the outside of the aircraft and the processor gets installed inside the aircraft.”

Messer said he has seen both the installation and programmed depot maintenance processes of the LAIRCM system.

“I came from the flight line where we installed the LAIRCM on the aircraft,” he said. “So when I first came to the LAIRCM section, I took the team down to the flight line and walked them through an aircraft so they could see the end product versus them seeing it on the work bench.”

Fred Frank, 566th EMXS electronics technician, said the GLTA is pretested by a Versatile Diagnostic Automatic Test Station to determine where issues are occurring within the components.

“A lot of the time when we get the GLTA back from the field, it will have all types of debris in them from the rigors of flight like sand, water and salt water,” he said. “So we have to go inside the components, clean them up, and service them by replacing any electronic parts that need to be replaced and re-assemble the components to be sent for testing.”

Travis Ross, 566th EMXS electronics technician said once the guardian pointer tracker is integrated to the GLTA, it is tested again by the VDATS to verify the system is operating properly.

“I set the parameters and perform the test to GLTA,” he said. “Each GLTA goes through approximately 30 hours of testing to ensure the system is fully operational before the maintainers place them on the aircraft.”

Ross said it means a lot knowing the LAIRCM systems will save lives.

“I have friends and family serving in the military,” he said. “I know they travel around on some of these aircraft, and it makes me feel good knowing they will be safe.”

Messer agreed.

“It’s a pretty proud feeling knowing you are protecting the aircrew’s lives and the aircraft for the warfighters,” he said. “I have an awesome team, and I think they really care about what they do.”