ECM shop puts together giant jigsaw puzzles
By Capt. Ben Garland and Tech. Sgt. Nicole Manzanares, 140th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 31, 2014
BUCKLEY AFB, Colo. -- One of the lesser known sections of the 140th Maintenance Group is the Electronic Countermeasures shop, more commonly known as electronic warfare.
"This shop basically works on the Electronic Countermeasures Pod, we call it an electronic attack pod," said Senior Master Sgt. Ernest Burgess, 140th Maintenance Group, Avionics Element Supervisor.
"If you are a Star Trek fan, it is kind of like a cloaking device for the aircraft, it is a self-protection jammer that provides protection for the aircraft from ground based threats and surface-to-air missiles," said Burgess.
The ECM shop is in charge of 28 pods. "We have more pods than aircraft currently assigned giving us the ability to take parts from one pod to fix another," said Burgess.
Although there are more pods than aircraft assigned to this unit, it is important that they are fully operational at all times. The pods can be deployed without the aircraft to support other missions, said Burgess.
Overall the ECM shop conducts intermediate level maintenance on the pods every 180 days. "The pod is like a big jigsaw puzzle," Burgess said.
One of the biggest challenges for the shop is that, "problems can be very complicated. The software will only get you so far, and then you are on your own," said Tech Sgt. Matthew Applehans, Electronic Warfare Systems Craftsman.
Due to the complexity of this profession, the skills learned can transition over to the civilian workforce. "This job is ideal for anyone who wants to go into an engineering career or research and development. It is a very marketable job outside of this career field," said Burgess.