Mysterious fortress at RAF Lakenheath
By Senior Airman Tiffany M. Deuel, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 13, 2011
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - -- Across the street from the gas station, an ominous brown building resides. A passerby may wonder, is it an abandoned building? Is it a waterworks? No, it is the home of the 48th Component Maintenance Squadron Avionics Flight Avionics Intermediate Section.
While the building's use is unknown to some, the contributions of the AIS Airmen to the 48th Fighter Wing mission are duly noted.
"The efforts of the Airmen in AIS are vital to Lakenheath's airpower", said Tech. Sgt. Rodney Ballard, 48th CMS Avionics production supervisor. "Our mission is to provide the flightline with highly effective and efficient intermediate support to maintain the electronics on the F-15s."
There are three key areas in AIS: Radar, Tactical Electronic Warfare Intermediate Support System (TISS) and Electronic Systems Test Set (ESTS).
Radar troops are responsible for running diagnostic tests on F-15 avionics parts to ensure the jets are operating at full combat capacity.
"We bench check, troubleshoot and repair avionics systems to include our Enhanced Automatic Radar test stations and F-15 avionics parts", said Senior Airman Yelitza Conover, 48th CMS Avionics back shop technician. "Bench check is when we connect a unit or broken item to a test station, so that it gives the same signals as a jet, and then measure the signals to pinpoint the component."
TISS troops are responsible for repairing the radar warning receiving and internal countermeasure set units of F-15 C and E models.
"Our job is to receive line replaceable units that the flightline deems to be unserviceable," said Ballard. "[Our Airmen] provide the flightline with a product they can rely on."
ESTS troops run diagnostic tests on avionics components to determine the problem so that it can be repaired. They also ensure that their testing equipment maintains serviceability.
"[We perform] functional inspections on our F-15 ESTS, which is used for diagnostics and fault isolation of F-15 E and C model avionics units," said Senior Airman Nathan Dimambro, 48th CMS avionics intermediate support section journeyman.
Although AIS is tucked away in a highly secure building, not readily noticed by Airmen driving by, their work is shown each time an F-15 soars across the skies.