Monday, February 22, 2016

Where's My Tool Box?

Here’s an interesting little item.  Snap-On Industrial tool company has been given a $10.2M contract to supply 1821 tool boxes for F-35 maintenance.  That’s around $5600 per tool box.  I know there are often specialized tools required for ship and aircraft work but these are not those.  Snap-On is just a supplier of run of the mill commercial tools.  Those are some mighty expensive tool boxes.  Must be more than just a set of socket wrenches!

Do the aircraft mechanics not already have tools? 

That’s almost one tool box per planned F-35.  Do mechanics not like to share?


  1. Snap-On boxes start at $2K and go up. One of the more expensive tool brands. And no, most mechanics don't share their tools. Too many tools go missing that way. Standard practice in the auto industry is one box per mechanic and I've got to believe aerospace is the same.

    1. The really interesting part of this is the number of tool boxes. Basically one for every aircraft. Is the military getting all new mechanics who have never worked before? At one time, the AF stated that the F-35 mechanics would come from other aircraft. Presumably, they would bring their tools with them. Why do we need all new tool sets for every F-35? Don't we already have mechanics with tool sets?

  2. one per aircraft seems exceptionally low.
    Given your regular mechanic has half a dozen mechanics, each one with their own complete tool kit (which has a lot more than 5k worth of tools!!!) and at any time at least 1 guy is working on each car if not more.

    Segway to a 30 ton fighter the size of a small whale, i can only assume at any one time you have a few dozen engineers working on it at the same time.
    Most likely its about 3-8 full tool kits per plane, working on a rotation of 30% planes down for maintenance.
    And $5K for a snap on kit, sounds like that wont include any of the specialised tools that would likely be needed on a craft like this.

    If you think a military application needs to be never fail, you should work in a mechanics workshop, heaven forbid a tool breaks mid job there, lets just say Thor's temper would be considered mild compared to some of the reactions I've seen.
    Hence Snap-On, guaranteed for life, very expensive, and almost never breaks.
    Almost, I've broken snap-on tools before, sure is nice to call your snapon seller, whom promptly turns up, new tool in hand and takes away your old one....


    Literaly the first thing I found when I googled tool set
    This is pretty reasonable

    I have tools sellotaped to what they are used for....
    And a tool "on the shelf"
    Its a tiny cost in the grand scheme of things, if every plane has its own tool box, you dont have engineers wandering around the maintenance bays trying to find who last used something and hasnt put it back yet

  4. Im asuming specialised tooling ?

    Given the nature of stealth. I doubt the panels open with a philips head ?

  5. A KRA2423PBO 17 drawer rolling cabinet is $6290.00 on the Snap-On website. The matching top, KRA2415PBO, is $4580.00 and neither includes tools at that price. Mechanics buy them because they are hard to break and have lifetime warranties. They will outlast the F-35's and probably it's replacement, too. And aircraft tools are NOT shared, each and every tool MUST be accounted for after each job or shift. They need a big toolbox with room for each tool to have it's own marked spot so they can see if one is missing. Think wrench in the pilot's head during a roll near the ground. And the tools are marked so you can tell if it belongs in that toolbox, so you can't just "borrow" someone's tool so your set is complete.