Maintainers of the F-22 at Langley AFB, Va., say they have been able to shave off 39 percent of the time that it takes to maintain the low-observable coating of the modern stealth fighter. “The implications are huge for the F-22 program,” said Col. Tyrone Strachan, commander of Langley’s 1st Maintenance Group. “Improving LO means improving combat capability by improving F-22 availability.” A pow-wow of Langley maintainers took place for five days last December as part of the Air Force Smart Operations 21 initiative to discuss how to improve work-flow efficiencies for the time-intensive process of maintaining the Raptor’s stealth attributes. Now, with knowledge gained, they are spreading their insights to their counterparts at the other F-22 bases, including Tyndall AFB, Fla., home of Raptor training; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, which is standing up as the second base for combat-ready F-22s; and Holloman AFB, N.M., which is due to get its first two combat-ready F-22s in June. “They will have much easier time setting up their LO sections and being more efficient from the start,” said Strachan of Elmendorf and Holloman. (Langley report by A1C Chase Skylar DeMayo)
Inflation threatens Northrop Grumman's profits on the B-21 bomber program, as the program moves from development to production, company officials said on their quarterly earnings call. The program remains below cost and on schedule, though, they said.