563rd OSS Mask Modernization

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Guadalupe Beltran
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Systems Branch fielded new respirator masks to the 563rd Operational Support Squadron and 755th OSS, March 7, 2024.

The new mask, known as the Joint Service Aircrew Mask Strategic Aircraft or M69, replaced the legacy MBU-19/P Aircrew Eye and Respiratory Protection equipment, which launched in the early 1990’s.

Davis-Monthan was provided the new chemical defense masks for aircrew members to wear while flying during chemical attacks.

“The M69 is a new material solution,” said Kevin O’Neal, Air Combat Command aircrew flight equipment operations specialist. “This week we are conducting new equipment training as part of the total package fielding.”

The NET subject matter experts provided the aircrew flight equipment technicians their new equipment and then trained them how to maintain and use the equipment.

“In the last 40 years, every time we get a new piece of equipment, it just showed up and we were expected to read the technical order and figure it out on our own,” said Bryan McCoy, Air Force CBRN Defense Systems Branch JSAM SA fielding coordinator. “This training is not like that. We wanted to perpetuate this, and how things should be fielded. We have had some good results and success with it.”

During NET, instructors taught Airmen how to deconstruct and rebuild the M69 masks. Replacing the MBU-19/P AERP, the M69 showed less wear and damage during routine inspections.

“The standard M69 inspection cycle is 18 months, which is directly correlated to logistics and the Mean Time Before Failure rates of the mask,” said O’Neal. “In addition to the 18-month inspection cycle, our AFE technicians conduct post-flight inspections when aircrew complete training with their assigned M69 kit.”

During the 18-month inspection cycle, the specialists conduct normal post flight inspections. Each kit is fitted to each aircrew member. If a pilot flies in-between that 18-month period, a post flight inspection is conducted on the pilot’s kit.

“One of the huge benefits of the new system is that the maintenance is significantly less,” said McCoy. “The mask is also much more resilient than the previous system.”

The first delivery of the M69 occurred in 2020. Since then, 73 TPF and NET events have been successfully completed with additional deliveries scheduled across the Air Force.

Air Force fielding scheduled for late 2024.