The Air Force expects to pay $228 million to address corrosion issues with the F-22 fighter by 2016, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued last week. While the Defense Department is doing a good job of ensuring that the same problems don’t plague the F-35 strike fighter, more could be done, state GAO auditors. Factors like the F-22’s paint, gapfiller materials, and small drainage holes have contributed to the aircraft’s corrosion problems. The F-35 features different gapfiller materials, a design with fewer seams, and more, adequately sized drain holes. However, the F-35 uses a nonchromated primer although this type did not prove effective for preventing corrosion on the F-22. Among its recommendations, the auditors called for DOD’s acquisition office to establish a process for monitoring and assessing corrective actions taken by the F-22 and F-35 program offices. DOD officials mainly concurred with the recommendations.
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.