Sunday, April 09, 2006
The first of 18 F-22's arrived here Friday to receive minor modifications.
The F-22 Raptor is scheduled to depart Hill May 11.
F-22 visits Hill for modifications
by Mitch Shaw
The excitement was intense Friday as the first of many F-22 Raptors
arrived at Hill for some minor modifications.
A total of 18 F-22s are expected to come through Hill to receive
modifications similar to the work that will be done on the first plane.
"We are going to enhance refueling capability and do a couple minor
structural modifications to the jet," said Col. Ken Merchant, vice commander
at the Ogden Air Logistics Center. "This is the beginning of a lot more work
that will come in to this ALC. In the long run, we will end up with the
wheel and tire and landing gear work."
Col. Kyle MacDonald, 309th Maintenance Wing, said the arrival of the Raptor
signifies the future of Hill.
"We will be handling a lot of the stealth fighters here and doing a lot of
modifications," Colonel MacDonald said. "As far as new employment, we expect
a lot of work to come to Hill."
The jet was piloted by Maj. Evan Dertien, who flew from Langley AFB, Va.,
stopped to re-fuel at Whiteman AFB, Mo., and then landed at Hill where he
was greeted by local media with plenty of questions.
"I definitely wasn't expecting any of this," said Major Dertien. "It really
makes me feel welcome though."
Dertien said the technological advances of the Raptor put it 20 years ahead
of anything else out there.
"Basically there are four big things about it that differ from our other
legacy fighters," Major Dertien said. "The capability to supercruise, our
integrated avionics, the maneuverability of the overall jet, combined with
the stealth it has, and basically nobody can see us coming. It's a leap in
technology from what we have had before."
Major Dertien, who has done three tours in Iraq, mostly flying F-15s, said
as good as the plane is to talk about, it's even better to fly.
"When I went into the Air Force Academy the plane was still in its very
early development, so a chance to actually fly the F-22 has been an awesome
experience," he said. "I think everyone volunteered for this (job)."
A key difference between the F-22 and the F-15s that Major Dertien flew in
Iraq, is the fact that all of the F-22's missiles are internal, making the
plane fly the same at all times.
"Flying with an F-15 with nothing on it is a totally different experience
than flying an F-15 that you take to combat because in combat, it has eight
additional missiles and possibly some bombs, depending on how it's
configured," Major Dertien said. "With the F-22, everything is internal, so
whether the jet is ready to go to war, or coming out here to Hill, it flies
exactly the same."
Dertien said the sheer speed of the jet is yet another component that makes
it so formidable. The jet usually flies at around Mach 1.5, which translates
to about 1,000 miles per hour, but it's advertised as a Mach 2 fighter.
"The speed gives your missiles a whole bunch more energy, and also as soon
as you turn (the aircraft) it makes it a lot tougher for the other guy to
shoot you," Major Dertien said. "And oh, by the way, he probably didn't see
us until well after we launched our missiles; they are about to impact him
when he gets his first indication that we're even there."
The F-22 Raptor will stay at Hill for a little over a month for the
modification and is scheduled to depart May 11.
Upgrading them already since they didnt have the capability to take out Superbugs.
More efficient refueling? Iran? FINGERS CROSSED!
I believe it has something to do with something that caused a crash IIRC last year.
I wish we had the werewhithal to purchase another 50 or 60 of these, on top of the current contracts.
Fixed it for ya
Actually, IIRC, wasn't the original contract for 700-800 aircraft total?
Let's be real.
Don't worry, immigrants will do the jobs F-22s can't do!
$150 million a plane and they need modifications to get them up to snuff???
"The F-22 passed milestone II in 1991. At that time, the Air Force planned to acquire 648 F-22 operational aircraft at a cost of $86.6 billion. "
Unfortunately, the USAF can't just get a few hundred of these, send them out for field-testing/evaluation and wait a few years until everything is worked out and a 'final' version is ordered.
I think it's a good thing the USAF is buying them in a small quantity now and they're being built slowly -- as these initial birds get the crap flown out of them all the issues will be worked out by the latter end of the production and really 'final' versions can be built in larger numbers.
That's cool. However, if they were still $86.6 billion instead of almost twice that we'd be buying closer to that 648.
I think there's more to it - $86.6B in 1991 dollars is about $122B today. But if it cost twice as much, shouldn't we still get 324 aircraft?
*smacks Wobblin-goblin in the back of the head.
That's 86.6 Billion, with a B, for all of them.
133 million a pop.
Not too far off from the ~160 that we're paying - and if we were still buying 600+ of them, the price would be lower.
The problem, as always, is the polititcians.
You'd think so. I wish we could/would.
Whoah. Can't believe I screwed that up. Good call.
When the LRIP (low-rate initial production) birds were rolling off the line they needed to have some up-rated modifications done to them before they rolled off the assembly line.
It ended up being faster, cheaper and easier to make the modification a "kit" and then to have the aircraft be fully assembled and have the modification kit installed at the plant. The USAF flew the accepted F-22's back to the factory to have those aircraft up-dated with the kit.
One time when I was in the Navy (this is a no-shitter ) the A-7's my squadron had needed 4 Airframes Changes done. One of the Airframe Changes was supposed to have been done when the aircraft were manufactured into TA-7C's from A-7B's.
We had to remove an interior access plate and then remove the structural support and replace the structural support.
It required that the avionics techs remove a bunch of their gear and that the engine be removed.
The avionics guys had removed all of their crap put of the way and the mechs were about ready to remove the engine when we got a stop work order.
It seems that the first Airframe Change directed that the old structural support member be removed, but it was cancelled by the 4th Airframes Change.
Nice of the paper pushers to look everything over before anyone started work.
TDs! Gotta love em!