An A-10 Warthog with battle damage was successfully repaired by an engineering team who conceived a repair solution without setting eyes on one another, or even the plane itself, according to an Air Force public affairs website.
Air Force A-10 Warthog repaired with remote engineering
The engineering team is from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hill Air Force Base and was told to fix a bullet hole in the plane's underbelly. The bullet responsible was ostensibly fired by enemy action during a recent mission.
However, the engineers were all working remotely, and so weren't allowed to meet in-person, let alone physically inspect the jet plane. In the Air Force post, the aircraft is said to be at a "deployed location," which probably means Afghanistan, according to Popular Mechanics. This means the repair was carried out thousands of miles away while the engineering team was under orders to stay in their homes.
Repairing A-10 aircraft from the bedroom
Instead of putting off the repair until the pandemic was finished, the team worked from home, in "bedrooms, basements, and home offices," said the Air Force. The team used emails, phone calls, and VPNs to learn more about the damage and communicate with Afghanistan-based aircraft maintenance officials.
"The team tested the teleworking capabilities during the previous weeks in anticipation of such an event," said A-10 Division Chief at Hill ATB Pamela Lee, according to the Air Force. "Because of this preparation, Engineering was able to keep the lines of communication open with the unit to support the expedient response to this emergency repair."
US Military adapts despite COVID-19
After the engineering team sent the on-site maintenance crew their repair instructions, the plane was fixed, studied, and once again airworthy. The plane is due for permanent repairs once it makes the journey back to its home base in the United States.
This is one example of how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the U.S. military in numerous ways, like the forced cancellation of training and exercises and sickening troops. Difficult times call for novel solutions, and remote collaboration might become the standard for future repairs even after the COVID-19 pandemic is long gone. This could greatly reduce the cost of sending experts halfway around the world, allowing the greatest engineers to extend their global reach without extending the Air Force's air mileage.
H/T: Popular Mechanics