Rust Never Sleeps

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.