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NDI Airmen enable ISR mission Air Force wide

Airman First Class Seth Hardy, 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection journeyman, scans the wing of an RQ-4 Global Hawk with a mobile automated scanner system on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. The MAUS inspection sends sound waves through the wing composite to identify potential defects on the interior of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

Airman First Class Seth Hardy, 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection journeyman, scans the wing of an RQ-4 Global Hawk with a mobile automated scanner system on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. The MAUS inspection sends sound waves through the wing composite to identify potential defects on the interior of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

Airman First Class Seth Hardy, left/right, 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection journeyman, works alongside Senior Airman Harry Fraticelli, 319 AMXS NDI craftsman, to perform a scan using sound waves on the wing of an RQ-4 Global Hawk at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. The scan is performed using a mobile automated scanner system as routine maintenance on the Global Hawk after every 150 flights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

Airman First Class Seth Hardy, left/right, 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection journeyman, works alongside Senior Airman Harry Fraticelli, 319 AMXS NDI craftsman, to perform a scan using sound waves on the wing of an RQ-4 Global Hawk at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. The scan is performed using a mobile automated scanner system as routine maintenance on the Global Hawk after every 150 flights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

Airmen from the 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection team work together to complete a mobile automated scan on the wing composite of an RQ-4 Global Hawk at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. The 319 AMXS NDI team is the first and only team to travel across the world to perform MAUS inspections on the Global Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

Airmen from the 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection team work together to complete a mobile automated scan on the wing composite of an RQ-4 Global Hawk at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. The 319 AMXS NDI team is the first and only team to travel across the world to perform MAUS inspections on the Global Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

Senior Airman Harry Fraticelli, 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection craftsman, checks for cracks and defects on an RQ-4 Global Hawk using the image produced from a mobile automated scanner system on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. Fraticelli has trained multiple Airmen in the 319 AMXS NDI shop to be certified to lead a MAUS inspection on the RQ-4 Global Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

Senior Airman Harry Fraticelli, 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection craftsman, checks for cracks and defects on an RQ-4 Global Hawk using the image produced from a mobile automated scanner system on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., March 25, 2021. Fraticelli has trained multiple Airmen in the 319 AMXS NDI shop to be certified to lead a MAUS inspection on the RQ-4 Global Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley Richards)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D --

The 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection team is the first of its kind to travel the world performing inspections on RQ-4 Global Hawks with a mobile automated scanner system across the U.S. Air Force.

The MAUS system operates like an ultrasound on the Global Hawk’s wings to create a detailed image of the aircraft’s interior, using sound waves to map and identify flaws.

“When using the MAUS we are scanning the aircraft from wingtip to wingtip to look for interior cracks or imperfections,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Walters, 319th Aircraft Maintenance nondestructive inspection technician. “Our job is to find any defects in the aircraft so they can be repaired before the next flight.”

The inspection team here performs the MAUS inspection as routine maintenance on the RQ-4 Global Hawk every 150 flights.

“When a Global Hawk needs a MAUS inspection overseas, our section will deploy in teams of six,” said Senior Airman Harry Fraticelli, NDI craftsman assigned to the 319 AMXS. “Usually, we go to Al Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi to perform this inspection, but we will go wherever the Global Hawks need us.”

Scanning the 130-foot wing span of the remotely piloted aircraft can take days to complete but is essential for the aircraft’s high-altitude, long-endurance missions.

“A MAUS scan took over two weeks to complete before our NDI team took over the inspection process,” said Fraticelli. “We have reduced that time to only four or five days to complete the full scan in deployed locations.”

Due to COVID-19, the Grand Forks AFB NDI team has deployed to locations for more than a month at a time to execute multiple inspections on aircrafts across the Air Force.

Fraticelli and Senior Airman Garrett Suarez, 319 AMXS NDI craftsman, are training multiple Airmen in the NDI shop to be certified in order to lead a MAUS inspection.

“Our goal as the NDI team is to make the invisible, visible,” said Senior Airman Maverick Shuler, 319 AMXS NDI craftsman, “At the end of the day we make sure the Global Hawks in the air are undamaged and safe to fly.”

The NDI Airmen of GFAFB enable the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission of the RQ-4 Global Hawk across the U.S. Air Force.