An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Suwon hosts F16 hot-pit mission

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rachelle Morris
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

It’s a warm, humid, summer morning and Koreans and Americans alike gather on top of a grassy knoll. Today they will witness a rare occurrence – U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons landing and refueling on Suwon Air Base, which has an active Republic of Korea Air Force mission.

No one on site can recall the last time this happened. While less than an hour from Osan Air Base, Suwon AB is drastically quieter and a far cry from the hustle and bustle of its neighboring U.S. installation.

However, its slow-paced appearance is not to be confused with its capabilities.

“This is exciting for us because we don’t have an operational mission here,” said Tech. Sgt. Alec Ogg, 607th Material Maintenance Squadron (MMS) Petroleum, Oil, & Lubricants (POL). “But, we are postured and ready in case a contingency kicks off.”

On the agenda for the day was the validation of Suwon's newly added hot-pit capability– a method of refueling by which an aircraft remains running, subsequently cutting down turn time by 66 percent. Among the players were POL, maintenance, airfield operations, safety and civil engineering.

“This will be the first time utilizing the pantographs for hot-pit operations at Suwon,” said Master Sgt. Neftali Flores, Seventh Air Force (7th AF) POL contingency war planner. “A pantograph is an articulating arm located inside of a flow-through revetment connected to a series of underground piping, which is ultimately connected to a fuel tank. This provides on-demand fuel at the squeeze of a handle and provides fuel support to multiple aircraft at the same time, reducing the work-load and turn-times of the mobile refueling fleet.”

Comparable to using a gas station pump, as mentioned, this method has many perks including eliminating the need for a fuel truck which is limited by its capacity. Combined with hot pit operations, these two upgrades fit right in line with the initiative to improve combat agility.

“Any time an aircraft lands and shuts down completely, the aircraft has to be inspected,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Moorhead, 7th AF Aircraft Maintenance Program Manager. “Maintenance has to come out, they have to refuel it, check all the oils, and inspect the aircraft for things such as loose or missing fasteners or damage. Pilots have to go to debrief and a new set of pilots will step an hour and a half to two hours later. Whereas with this, the pilot comes in and lands, leaves his engines running, gets gas and takes off again.”

An added bonus for the event, was the opportunity for the visiting teams to survey the base for its abilities to support additional future trainings.

“The main factor for this is to expand our capabilities,” said Master Sgt. Jonathan Price, 36th Fighter Generation Squadron Aircraft Maintenance section chief. “We don’t want to be isolated to one location. We want to have the possibilities to move around if need be. We sent our aircraft here so they can get familiarized with Suwon and pass the knowledge on to the rest of the wing. It’s a great asset.”