MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
The B-52H Stratofortress is the backbone of the Air Force’s bomber mission, able to carry nuclear or precision guided ordnance with worldwide precision.
The 5th Munitions Squadron armament flight is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the B-52’s support equipment that carry and drop the munitions.
Armament system’s motto is “Weapons well hung” which reminds Airmen how important their efforts are to the mission.
“There are two main sections in our career field,” said Master Sgt. Melanie Lineberry, 5th MUNS aircraft armament maintenance section chief.” “On-equipment loads and unloads munitions out on the flight line. The off-equipment section inspects, tests and maintains the equipment that hold the munitions.”
Lineberry said the support equipment they maintain includes heavy stores adapter beams, MAU-12 Bomb ejector racks, conventional rotary launchers, cluster bomb racks and litening pod pylons.
“We maintain around 60 to 80 pieces of support equipment and complete over 100 inspections, maintenance and repairs a week,” said Tech. Sgt. Wade Hunnicutt, 5th MUNS alternate mission equipment section chief.
The mission and goal of the 5th MUNS armament flight is to support flight line Airmen and loading and unloading operations.
“Anything that’s removed from the aircraft is what we work on in our shop,” said Lineberry. “We tear them apart, inspect them and make sure they are fully functional and mission ready.”
Both Lineberry and Hunnicutt said that they are faced with various inspections depending on the piece and importance of equipment they’re working on.
The first phase in inspection is to check for visual discrepancies and repair them based on needs.
Secondly, they take the equipment apart and check the inside to ensure if it’s still functioning correctly.
After fixing any discrepancies, the equipment is tested and sent back to the flight line.
Operational, electrical and mechanical support equipment have 180 day, 12 month, 18 month and 24 month inspections to ensure they are in efficient condition.
“We do a lot of preventive maintenance,” said Lineberry. “All of our equipment is the key integral piece to make sure bombs drop on target. If the pilots hit a button and we don’t do our job those bombs are not going to drop.”