Sunday, October 4, 2009

F-22 problems linked to rain in Guam

F-22 problems linked to rain in Guam: "Rain and Raptors don’t mix.Wet conditions at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, caused mechanical problems in a dozen F-22 Raptor fighters deployed to the Pacific island from the much less rainy Alaska.Guam, about 3,800 miles west-southwest of Hawaii, averages 80 to 110 inches of rain a year, according to the National Weather Service. The U.S. territory gets much of its precipitation during the rainy season of July through December.

The jets’ cooling systems drew in moisture from the air, which caused shorts and failures in sophisticated electrical components.For relatively new aircraft such as the F-22, which joined the fleet five years ago, maintenance glitches are common, said Col. Edward Thomas, director of public affairs for Pacific Air Forces.It’s ‘just maturation issues with the airframe as we continue to employ in varied environments,’ Thomas said.


It’s ‘comparable to lots of smaller issues we dealt with during earlier years of the F-15 [and] F-16.’Maintainers fixed the jets, then worked with contractors to come up with measures such as a waterproof coating to keep the parts, he said.‘Some maintenance folks out there did some good work and found some innovative solutions with the contractor,’ Thomas said.The F-22s are from the 525th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, deployed to Andersen as the 525th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron for four months beginning in May.

They returned to their home base at their scheduled time. This is the third Raptor deployment to Andersen, all with aircraft and personnel from Elmendorf.The fighters’ maintenance issues had ‘no impact’ on the strategic posture at Guam and did not put the island’s defense in jeopardy, Thomas said. The aircraft will continue to deploy to Guam and other parts of the Pacific, he said."

(Via Air Force Times - News.)

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