USMC Attitude to LO Maintenance - Stealthy and Healthy

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spazsinbad

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Unread post07 Dec 2017, 18:04

Full 12 page PDF article is elsewhere in this forum in the F-35 UNITs subsection.

Go here: viewtopic.php?f=59&t=53007&p=382733&hilit=father#p382733
VMFA-211 Wake Island Avengers F-35B USMC Combat Aircraft Monthly Jan 2018 pp12.pdf
Download 12 page PDF: download/file.php?id=26042 (PDF 2.13Mb)
Wake Island Avengers
Jan 2018 Jamie Hunter

"...Stealthy and healthy
Being out on deck, deployed for long periods, not to mention slapping external pylons on and performing maintenance — it all clearly takes its toll on the stealthy external surfaces of the F-35. Damaging the skin is a huge concern, especially as the USMC aspires to maintain 100 per cent low-observable (LO) integrity for its entire F-35 fleet. All the squadron’s aircraft are ‘go-to-war’ assets — there’s no difference between the way the training squadrons operate and they way the front line operates.

The USMC attitude is: if you’re paying for a stealthy aeroplane, you might as well keep it stealthy.

Vaughn says that LO maintenance isn’t as much of a headache as some expected, and attributes much of this to the internal maintenance teams within each squadron. ‘It’s about having a fifth-generation way of thinking and approaching this,’ he explains. ‘The way our maintenance publications are written is that the job isn’t complete — the airplane is not fixed — until the LO is restored on it. That’s been learned from prior stealthy platforms where maybe the LO wasn’t always maintained and it was deferred. Certain F-35 panels do have deferrals on them, which means we can wait a certain number of days before the LO is fully restored. Some have a five-day deferral. It means we might finish the bulk of the job on a Monday, which gives us a few days to fly the jet ‘green’, as we call it. Then we’ll have a crew come in on Friday or Saturday to fix the LO so it can cure over the weekend, and by Monday it’s fully ready to go.’

Certain panels don’t require any LO maintenance — they’re panels the maintainers have to get into all the time. Others require some LO restoration, but Vaughn says, ‘it just becomes the way of doing business.’ Maintainers at VMFA-211 acknowledge that while most procedures are relatively straightforward, others — such as changing a wingtip navigation light — are overly complex, time-consuming and frustrating. Vaughn says experience is enhancing the procedures massively when it comes to maintaining the aircraft. ‘There was a panel that required a lot of switch-outs because of wear and tear and it meant we were having to regularly replace them, and they were in short supply. Our maintainers said they thought that they could fix it in-house. They demonstrated their fix, we sent it off to the JPO [Joint Program Office], who analyzed it and approved it. So there’s a huge saving right there thanks to our enterprising young sergeants.’..."

Source: Combat Aircraft Volume 19 Number 1
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 12:45

This thread is as good a place as any for this question / related topic -- salt water.

In another thread, someone posted an article referring to the great job the AF maintainers were doing on their current Far East deployment to Kadena AFB. The article quoted an AF enlisted person as saying the guys from Hill were not used to the salt water environment, and that (apparently) after every flight, the pilots had to taxi through the bird bath to rinse off the accumulated salt water.

I don't think LHA/LHD's nor CVNs are equipped with taxi through bird baths... I know that the stealth has, to a large part, been baked in to the F-35 skin -- reference articles talking about the "doormat" to one test squadron being an F-35 skin panel -- so the skin structure is tough/durable. Since all fresh water at sea either has to be made or stored in tanks, I imagine it is at a premium.

How often does the USMC / USN hose down the F-35's? Are they hosed off any more frequently than other aviation assets?
Take an F-16, stir in a little A-7, bake, then sprinkle on a generous helping of F-117. What do you get? An F-35.
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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 12:58

In a galaxy far far away a question like this was answered but not specifically for the F-35B/C at sea because they have not been on ops yet just testing. However it is likely they will be washed down as other jets for example - the hornetos. So I'll search the forum on the string Oz1OJzcNoFs for where there was some action. CVNs should have plenty of fresh water whilst LHAs - dunno? viewtopic.php?f=22&t=52732&p=361021&hilit=Oz1OJzcNoFs#p361021 & viewtopic.php?f=61&t=24950&p=269812&hilit=Oz1OJzcNoFs#p269812 So you see the wash is not wasteful as one sees in a birdbath ashore but fresh water is available - only your imagination says it is precious & it is. :roll: But it is available as required.

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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 15:25

steve2267 wrote:This thread is as good a place as any for this question / related topic -- salt water.

In another thread, someone posted an article referring to the great job the AF maintainers were doing on their current Far East deployment to Kadena AFB. The article quoted an AF enlisted person as saying the guys from Hill were not used to the salt water environment, and that (apparently) after every flight, the pilots had to taxi through the bird bath to rinse off the accumulated salt water.

I don't think LHA/LHD's nor CVNs are equipped with taxi through bird baths... I know that the stealth has, to a large part, been baked in to the F-35 skin -- reference articles talking about the "doormat" to one test squadron being an F-35 skin panel -- so the skin structure is tough/durable. Since all fresh water at sea either has to be made or stored in tanks, I imagine it is at a premium.

How often does the USMC / USN hose down the F-35's? Are they hosed off any more frequently than other aviation assets?


If you're near the coast on base it's a routine procedure after flights. I've seen old grungy Marine phrogs do it.
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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 17:50

steve2267 wrote:This thread is as good a place as any for this question / related topic -- salt water.

In another thread, someone posted an article referring to the great job the AF maintainers were doing on their current Far East deployment to Kadena AFB. The article quoted an AF enlisted person as saying the guys from Hill were not used to the salt water environment, and that (apparently) after every flight, the pilots had to taxi through the bird bath to rinse off the accumulated salt water.

I don't think LHA/LHD's nor CVNs are equipped with taxi through bird baths... I know that the stealth has, to a large part, been baked in to the F-35 skin -- reference articles talking about the "doormat" to one test squadron being an F-35 skin panel -- so the skin structure is tough/durable. Since all fresh water at sea either has to be made or stored in tanks, I imagine it is at a premium.

How often does the USMC / USN hose down the F-35's? Are they hosed off any more frequently than other aviation assets?


Every 10 days we have to fresh water wash the jets when embarked. No different than any other platform. And yes, we’ve done it outside of testing.
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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 19:26

:mrgreen: Thanks 'string of numbers I can't remember' :doh: Is this aboard both CVNs & LHAs? Why ten days? Why not 'as required'?
'010137' said: "Every 10 days we have to fresh water wash the jets when embarked. No different than any other platform. And yes, we’ve done it outside of testing."
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post16 Dec 2017, 21:15

spazsinbad wrote::mrgreen: Thanks 'string of numbers I can't remember' :doh: Is this aboard both CVNs & LHAs? Why ten days? Why not 'as required'?
'010137' said: "Every 10 days we have to fresh water wash the jets when embarked. No different than any other platform. And yes, we’ve done it outside of testing."

Will probably be same for both. There is a time interval in order to make it mandatory to get done, whether “you think” the jet needs it or not. If you make it “as needed” it won’t get done. As you know, the nature of saltwater corrosion is such that you have to continually do upkeep. Jets are washed periodically on land as well.

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