by Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brent Stockton, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron sorts rounds as they come out of the GFU-7 on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 8, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths) Hi-res
2/10/2012 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- When you step into the bay the prep work being done by the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron munitions section is reminiscent of the percussion-heavy show 'STOMP'. The clanging of aluminum resounds throughout the shop as Airmen remove canister lids and drag barrels into place. The crew is preparing to fire up the GFU-7, or what they call the "Dragon", and feed it belts of 30mm ammunition.
This particular shop in the 355th EMS munitions section is responsible for processing A-10 30mm ammo belts and ensuring that there are no empty rounds in the strip.
"The aircraft don't always expend the full can of 30mm rounds, "said Tech. Sgt. Sean Parker, 355th EMS production supervisor. "This leaves gaps in the belts and it's our job to replace these spaces with live ammunition."
The ammo processing shop works on a swing shift from 4 p.m. until midnight. They spend their eight-hour days moving canisters of unprocessed ammo through the GFU-07.
"Under optimal conditions, we average about one can every ten minutes," Parker said.
Doing the math, it comes out to about six cans an hour, or 48 cans a day.
"The cans of expended rounds are loaded onto the Dragon's rail system and fed into the machine," Park said. "There is a section in the machine that allows for spent rounds to fall through."
An unspent round still contains a projectile. When the rounds get to the chute, the projectile is what holds the unspent rounds in the machine. If there is no projectile, the rounds fall out of the machine and into a canister.
"We make sure that there is good ammo on the flight line," said Airman 1st Class Zachary Crabb, 355th EMS. "Providing quality munitions is vital to the mission."