While it took a decade, the U.S. Air Force found canisters to replace those on a damaged Raytheon [RTX] ALQ-184 electronic countermeasures pod (ECM) used by the F-16s of the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base, Korea for suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD)
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio said that the pod had incurred exterior damage from a drop at some point in its life and that the pod’s A3 and A4 canisters, which normally have a long life, had to be replaced. The pod had been out of service for the last decade until AFLCMC was able to locate replacement canisters at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Ga.
The 408th Supply Chain Management Squadron (SCMS) at Robins AFB “had begun an ALQ-184 reclamation project to harvest critical components for continued sustainment of the system,” AFLCMC said. “During the ALQ-184 reclamation, the A3 and A4 canisters are removed and demilitarized because they are not stock listed items.”
When the AFLCMC External Electronic Attack Pod Integrated Product Team (IPT) at Robins received word of the canister removal as part of the ALQ-184 reclamation project, center personnel got the A3 and A4 canisters and then collaborated with 51st Maintenance Squadron technicians at Osan to repair the pod.
In October, the pod was back in service after six weeks of repair, AFLCMC said.
The ALQ-184 is a modification of the ALQ-119 ECM pod by the former Westinghouse—now a part of Northrop Grumman [NOC]. The F-16 and the legendary F-4 Wild Weasel carried the ALQ-119.
AFLCMC said that it carried over the ALQ-119 canisters to the ALQ-184. “During the life of the ALQ-119, the canisters did not project failure rates high enough to warrant stock, store and issue so no spare canisters were purchased,” per AFLCMC. “Based on that performance factor, no NSN [National Stock Number] was assigned to the canister, and this action was carried over to the ALQ-184 pod.”
“The canisters have not been in stock since the inception of the ALQ-184 in 1989,” the center said. “The ALQ-119 dates back to the 1970s. The maintenance shops are able to still purchase parts that go on the canisters and are authorized to make minor repairs. The repair of this particular ALQ-184 was a very unique case.”