FA-18 Super Hornet maintainers in the Middle East
21 October 2014
Keeping track of wires, radars and electronics on F/A-18F Supers Hornets deployed to the Middle East is a 12-man team of tech-savvy avionics technicians.
Avionics shift supervisor, SGT Ian Wiblen and his crew of three “AV Techs” will pour over the jets to see what the sand and heat are doing to their sophisticated electronics.
“Everything’s working well at the moment, it is a bit warm over here and with the dust it might be a bit of a challenge.”
SGT Wiblen last deployed with the F/A-18A/B classic Hornets to Qatar in 2003 and is now back in the region with its bigger, meaner offspring.
“The Super Hornet is pretty impressive and it’s a lot more capable than anything we’ve had before,” he said.
SGT Wiblen, the 1SQN CO and an aircraft technician are the only veterans of the classic Hornet’s 2003 deployment on the current trip.
Despite the lack of operational experience in the crew, SGT Wiblen said they were eager to keep the jets in the air.
“All the guys here wanted to be on this trip so they’re putting in a big effort,” he said.
“We get to use our knowledge and experience doing what they’re supposed to do, it’s what we’re always working towards.”
SGT Wiblen and the team also get a bit of help from the aircraft itself if there is something wrong with the systems.
“The jets have a self-diagnostic system and most of the time that points you in the right direction,” he said. “We’ll also do a lot of servicing to the jet, there might not be anything wrong but we have to do that as part of our preventative maintenance.”