Mrt 28 2014

USAF Ogden ALC: structural multi-million mods on brand new F-35’s

Gepubliceerd door JSFNieuws.nl om 17:19 onder Global F35 News

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The Ogden Air Logistics Complex completed the Air Force’s first organic depot modifications on an F-35 Lightning II.

The F-35A variant aircraft, arrived at Hill AFB in mid-September 2013, and received four structural modifications intended to strengthen areas of the aircraft and extend its service life.
Maj. Gen. H. Brent Baker Sr., the Ogden ALC commander, credited the phenomenal teamwork that occurred between the Ogden ALC, Lockheed Martin and F-35 Joint Program Office for successfully completing the modifications.
It was a team effort with the Ogden ALC providing the touch labor and Lockheed Martin providing engineering support,” Baker said. The aircraft departed 25-March-2104 for Nellis AFB, Nev., where it will undergo continued operational testing.

Verifying modification process

Baker said this first F-35 aircraft was what’s called a prototype modification aircraft because in the process of outfitting the modifications, the depot was also able to solidify its technical processes. This was the first time the Ogden ALC accomplished depot work on the aircraft, and new and improved ways of doing the modifications were discovered. In the end, each of the findings will formally be rolled into improving the existing technical guidance, Baker said, which will be used for subsequent F-35 repairs.
More than 30 Ogden ALC maintainers and 17 Lockheed Martin engineers and production staff accomplished the modifications under the umbrella of a public-private partnership.
When it comes to Air Force depot maintenance on the F-35, the vast majority of the learning and experience is happening right here at the Ogden ALC,” Baker said.

Four structural modifications on brand-new aircraft

The first of the four structural modifications made to the aircraft included a root rib modification, which replaces a section of the aircraft’s wing root rib with a titanium splice. The other modifications, also structural, involved a station 3/9 modification, a mid-fairing fitting, and a forward engine mount modification, all of which are intended to extend the life of the aircraft.
The process concluded with a series of functional check flights to ensure the modifications were performed correctly and that other systems on the aircraft unrelated to the changes were not disturbed. The aircraft involved is a F-35A, AF-21; first flight 20-Oct-2012; start of modifications 23-Sep-2012 (11 months after first flight); remedial work ready 14-Mar-2014 (6 months later).

Modification of early F-35 jets: hundreds of millions of cost

Defense Aerospace writes about it:
The aircraft arrived at Hill AFB on Sept. 20, 2013, 11 months after its first flight. At the time, Lockheed said that “This aircraft will receive a series of structural and systems modifications at Ogden to enhance critical capabilities needed during the Block 2B Operational Testing and Evaluation, or OT&E, program in 2015.”
The remedial work took six months (…) in other words, since its first flight 18 months ago, this particular aircraft has been grounded for repairs one-third of the time.
The remedial work at Hill AFB was carried out by 47 people (“more than 30 Ogden ALC maintainers and 17 Lockheed Martin engineers and production staff,”), so the labor needed to fix its faults totals about 23.5 man-years, even allowing for “new and improved ways of doing the modifications [that] were discovered” during the process. Payroll expenses alone would amount to $2-$3 million, depending on the pay grades of the military personnel and contractors involved
. ”

This is part of the total modification program, caused by the concurrency in development, testing and production of the F-35. Some months ago Breaking Defense already reported about the very impressive amount of US$496.2 million that will pay for cost overruns on Lots 1 to 3 (28 aircraft involved).
The F-35 Joint Program Office intends to issue multiple contract modifications to the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 2 contract” to Lockheed “for retrofit modifications” the six F-35As and six F-35Bs bought in Lot 2. “These potential actions will provide for a variety of improvements to the F-35 fleet, focusing on previously documented modifications related to the maintainability of the aircraft systems. These modifications are required to extend the service life of the aircraft. (…) This is part of the very impressive $496.2 million that will pay for cost overruns on Lots1 to 3.”

Second; RNLAF F-35A to be modified

The Ogden ALC received its second Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, a Dutch F-35, on 14-Feb-2014. A third (US.-owned0 jet arrived on 15-Mar-2014.
The Dutch aircraft is expected to undergo three of the four modifications performed on the first aircraft before it returns to Eglin AFB, Fla., for more operational testing this summer. It will not get the engine mount modification, but is receiving a major modification to the fuel boost pumps.
This second aircraft is more of a validation/verification aircraft, Baker said, which means that while it’s getting the planned modifications, the skilled artisans who work on the aircraft will continue to validate and verify that the formalized technical guidance is 100 percent accurate.

This year: six aircraft to be modified

The Ogden ALC is expected to perform a series of modifications on a total of six aircraft this fiscal year. Eight F-35s are expected to be inducted into the depot in FY15. Baker said it took more than two years to prepare the Ogden ALC for this new F-35 depot work and as workload increases, manning is also expected to increase.
The F-35 is important for the Air Force and Hill AFB, Baker said, because the F-35 will eventually be the heir to the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the A-10 Thunderbolt II. The Ogden ALC already performs depot maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification on the F-16 and A-10.
It is exciting to see this entire plan come to fruition and work on the aircraft.” Baker said. “It has been incredibly rewarding for the team.

Source:
US Air Force; Hill AFB; 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs; press release by Richard W. Essary;
26-Mar-2014; “Ogden ALC completes organic mods on first F-35

Analysis of some more details:
Breaking Defense; 19-dec-2013; Colin Clark; Concurrency’s Costs: An F-35 Example

Defense Aerospace; 27-mar-2014; F-35A Fighters Require Six Months of Remedial Work

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