Sabreliner Corp. Performs Large Structural Teardown for the U.S. Air Force

As part of its Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension (CAStLE) contract with the United States Air Force, Sabreliner Corporation recently achieved a milestone when it concluded the largest and most comprehensive teardown effort ever conducted for the U.S. Air Force on a KC-135 Stratotanker.

The project included a structural teardown analysis of a KC-135 Stratotanker including summarizing the findings in a 1,437-page final report. The structural teardown will help Government officials determine the current condition and long-term structural viability of the fleet with the goal of flying these aircraft through 2040. A full-scale teardown on an additional KC-135 is currently underway at Sabreliner’s Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, operation.

“Our Ste. Genevieve facilities are where Sabreliner workers breathe new life into older aircraft operated by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and others,” said Susan Aselage, Sabreliner president.

Under its current contract, Sabreliner’s scope of work includes engineering tasks and research activities for aging structures initiated by the USAF and CAStLE. The research and engineering activities performed by CAStLE cover a variety of tasks that follow aircraft and other structures through their life cycle from cradle to grave.

Also in Ste. Genevieve, Sabreliner is building replacement KC-135 rudders and producing replacement center wing assemblies for the P-3 Orion aircraft flown by the U.S. Navy, other U.S. agencies and allied governments.

The Ste. Genevieve operation has a long history of service to the military. In prior contracts, Sabreliner technicians conducted exhaustive inspections and made repairs to critical flight control components for the Air Force KC-135 and Navy E-6B, both military derivatives of the Boeing 707 aircraft. Flaps, ailerons, horizontal stabilizers and other structural components were removed from the aircraft elsewhere and delivered to Sabreliner facilities, where technicians stripped the existing paint and conducted extensive inspections including peeling back the sheet metal skin to look for any damage or weaknesses. The components were restored to like-new condition, repainted and returned to military bases and other facilities for reinstallation on the original aircraft, making the aircraft ready for more years of service to the nation.

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