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Liberty Spotlight: Keeping the fuel flowing

48th Component Maintenance Squadron airman installs a wire harness in an external fuel tank at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 8. The aircraft fuel systems section performs maintenance on all fuel systems in the F-15, as well as their external fuel tanks. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A 48th Component Maintenance Squadron Airman installs a wire harness in an external fuel tank at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 8. The aircraft fuel systems section performs maintenance on all fuel systems in the F-15, as well as their external fuel tanks. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

48th Component Maintenance Squadron Airmen change a pressure valve in an aircraft pylon at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 8.  The aircraft fuel systems section is responsible for the external tanks and fuel systems on all RAF Lakenheath F-15s. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

48th Component Maintenance Squadron Airmen change a pressure valve in an aircraft pylon at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 8. The aircraft fuel systems section is responsible for the external tanks and fuel systems on all RAF Lakenheath F-15s. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A 48th Component Maintenance Squadron airman changes a pressure valve in an aircraft pylon at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 8. The aircraft fuel systems section is responsible for the fuel systems on all RAF Lakenheath F-15s. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

A 48th Component Maintenance Squadron Airman changes a pressure valve in an aircraft pylon at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Jan. 8. The aircraft fuel systems section is responsible for the fuel systems on all RAF Lakenheath F-15s. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- F-15 Eagles are powerful jets. With a maximum takeoff weight of over 68,000 pounds, their two Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines can propel them to supersonic speeds.

These workhorses would be rendered useless without the systems that move fuel from the tanks to the engines. However, the Airmen of the 48th Component Maintenance Squadron’s aircraft fuel systems repair section make sure that doesn’t happen.

“This section ensures the safe operation of the fuels system for all F-15 aircraft assigned to RAF Lakenheath,” said the aircraft fuel systems section chief. “We troubleshoot and repair everything from fuel leaks to component failures. We also inspect, track and maintain external fuel tanks that enable extended flight time for the F-15.”

Keeping the fuel systems in check for the Liberty Wing’s F-15s results in a busy work schedule for the section, both on the flightline and in their shop.

“On a typical day we work three to four aircraft on the flightline, with three to four external tanks in the [shop],” said the NCO. “Each job takes between two and 72 hours to complete and most require two to three personnel per job.”

This busy tempo also extends to jobs away from home station.

“Being a pivotal part to flying, we get to travel on all the TDYs and deployments with the fighter squadrons,” he said.

The section recently supported the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron when they deployed to Lithuania for the 45th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, where they completed approximately 300 flying hours with over 170 sorties.

Thanks to the hard work of the aircraft fuel systems section’s Airmen the 48th Fighter Wing’s jets stay in the air supporting U.S. European Command, Africa Command, NATO and other partners around the globe.