Defense

November 28, 2012

F-22’s success more than ‘skin deep’

A1C Emmanuel Marioni, 3rd Maintenance Squadron, inspects the skin of a 3rd Wing F-22 Raptor at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Sept. 28, 2012. Marioni is a low observable technician.

Many are surprised to discover that the largest organ the human body has is the skin. Skin provides a physical barrier against harmful, external factors. The F-22 Raptor, much like the human body, has a layer of skin called low observable.

LO not only assists in retaining the jets’ stealth capabilities but also prevents corrosion and other damages. Like human skin, the F-22’s coating consists of several layers. The surface of the F-22 appears to be a simple gray paint, but in reality the high-tech surface renders one of the largest fighter jets virtually undetectable by radar.

“Arguably the most important capability of a fifth generation fighter, like the Raptor, is what low observable delivers – the stealth,” said Air Force Maj. Patrick Pearson, a 3rd Wing F-22 pilot at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

The benefits of stealth technology may escape some in terms of air combat. The ability of the F-22 to prosecute a lethal attack while remaining undetected is why it has the highest air-to-air kill ratio of any other fighter in simulated combat. While incredible lethality has defined F-22 tactics, the aircraft has also become known for its unmatched survivability.

“Survivability is the biggest [factor], so the jet and the pilot can come back,” said A1C Emmanuel Marioni, 3rd Maintenance Squadron LO technician.

Lethality and survivability are critical issues for the men and women in the LO shop, comprised of active duty Airmen from the 3rd Maintenance Squadron and reservists from the 477th Maintenance Squadron. Their daily work readies F-22 pilots to defeat the most advanced adversarial aircraft and surface to air missile systems.

Once a week, the LO shop conducts outer mold line inspections on the Raptor. All the information is placed into a database that rates its stealth capability, called a signature assessment system.

“The lower the SAS rating, the stealthier a jet is,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dave Strunk, 477th Maintenance Squadron fabrication flight chief.

Strunk said that LO application falls into two areas – the removal of coatings to facilitate other maintenance and the removal and replacement to bring the SAS rating down. The job of an LO technician can be a challenging one requiring a high level of attention to detail and adherence to safety precautions.

“We are working all day every day,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Duque, 477th Maintenance Squadron LO technician. “We have 24/7 coverage to ensure a steady flow of progress from the start of a repair to finish. Our accurate cataloging of damages and sound repairs ensure that the aircraft is performing as designed.”

The skin from the body can be taken for granted until it is damaged. The behind-the-scenes efforts of the men and women of the 3rd Maintenance Squadron and the 477th Maintenance Squadron keep the Raptor at the top of its game.

“The constant attention to detail and upkeep from our LO section is essential to projecting the F-22’s combat capability,” Pearson said. “Knowing that our jets are fully ready to go gives me the confidence I need get the job done.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 7, 2015

News: F-35 loses dogfight to fighter jet from 1980s – A new report alleges that an F-35A was defeated by the very aircraft it is meant to replace.   Business: South Korea selects Airbus for $1.33 billion tanker contract – European aerospace giant Airbus won a $1.33 billion deal June 30 to supply air refueling...
 
 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph

Boeing, Embraer to collaborate on ecoDemonstrator technology tests

U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph Frederico Curado, president & CEO of Embraer, and Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, at the Brazil-U.S. Business Summit in Washington, D.C. The event occurred during an offici...
 
 
Untitled-2

Tactical reconnaissance vehicle project eyes hoverbike for defense

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, has been exploring the tactical reconnaissance vehicle, or TRV, concept for nearly nine months and is evaluating the hoverbike technology as a way to get Soldiers away from ground thre...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton

Upgraded AWACS platform tested at Northern Edge

Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton Maintenance crew members prepare an E-3G Sentry (AWACS) for takeoff during exercise Northern Edge June 25, 2015. Roughly 6,000 airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen ...
 
 
LM-Legion

Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod™ takes to skies

Lockheed Martin photograph by Randy Crites Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod recently completed its first flight test, successfully tracking multiple airborne targets while flying on an F-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Legion Pod was in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First Marine graduates Air Force’s F-35 intelligence course

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Marine Corps 1st Lt. Samuel Winsted, an F-35B Lightning II intelligence officer, provides a mock intelligence briefing to two instructors during the F-35 Intelligence Formal Train...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>