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'Mod Squad' modernizes Moody's Pave Hawks

by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
23rd Wing Public Affairs

3/30/2007 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNEWS) -- Installing a major modification on an aircraft usually means it has to leave the base and head to where the experts are, unless you can bring those experts to the aircraft.

Some modifications are jobs for the "Mod Squad;" a four-man team of specialists whose mission is to plumb deep inside an aircraft and run the new wires needed for today's modern combat systems, said Rob Lee, the modification team leader for Cygnus Aerospace Inc.

"While we're at Moody, we are installing three different upgrades to the (HH-60G) Pave Hawks," Mr. Lee said. "The upgrades include night vision imaging system upgrades, engine wiring harnesses for upgraded engines and countermeasures upgrades that help the aircraft defend it more effectively. Some birds will get all three at the same time."

For the NVIS mod, the team's three electricians and one sheet metal specialist have just 10 days to gut the interior crew spaces, run power wires for nearly every instrument, reinstall everything and test it. They are also installing night-vision-compatible exterior lighting.

"This new wiring will power the pre-installed night vision lighting in the cockpit displays," said Brett Raynor Jr., a Cygnus Aerospace's East Coast field service representative. "This will allow the aircrew much more control over the lighting conditions inside and outside of the aircraft, so they can see and fight more effectively."
Increasing the ability to fly safely in near-total darkness is only one improvement this mod team is bringing to the fight, said Mr. Lee. To help Moody Airmen retrieve other servicemembers deep behind enemy lines, another major protective upgrade is being installed.

"The biggest mod we are installing here is a defensive systems upgrade," Mr. Lee said. "For that installation, we remove pretty much everything in the cockpit to get at the wiring and start working our way back by removing floor panels and putting new wires down as we go," said the team leader. "It's an invasive installation, to say the least.

"When this upgrade is done, the missile sensors will be able to talk to the decoys and properly react to threats faster than any human ever could," he said.

With a strict timetable for the modifications, teamwork is essential to getting everything done on time.

"While the other three are running new wires, I am attaching the new lights, mounts and brackets they run through," he said. "We are definitely a team, and the closer we work together, the faster we can get these aircraft back in the air."

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