The F-35 Integrated Test Force has progressed towards further operational capability as military members performed maintenance duties while wearing protective uniforms designed to preserve the warfighter and allow the sustainment of operations in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.
Testing gathered data on practicality for maintainers to perform routine maintenance tasks while wearing the CBRN suit, boots and mask. Maintenance personnel donned various configurations of Mission Oriented Protective Posture suits that ranged from gloves and CBRN resistant over-garments to gas masks, flak vests and helmets.
“As a team we were very happy with the maintainability of the F-35 while wearing the chemical gear. We really didn’t run into any restrictions. The team had a great attitude toward this testing and was very motivated to get through it. We realized the importance of proving the ability to perform this type of maintenance for the eventual war fighter,” said Tech. Sgt. Shawn Whittemore, Test Team leader, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
The test team consisted of 14 military, contractor and civilian members.
“This testing was the basis to prove the F-35 weapon system is effectively and efficiently supportable in a combat environment. There will be subsequent testing to include weapons loading activities as well as repairs to the aircraft’s low-observable characteristics.” said Mary Parker, the ITF Logistics deputy director.