The Ingenuity of Our Military-Airman Fixes F-22 Mechanical Issue for $250


By Debbie Gregory.

When a mechanical issue compromised the stealth of the F-22 Raptor, it was a big problem. Luckily, a small team of Airmen were able to develop an innovative solution.

The team’s problem solving is a testament to the amount of responsibility and confidence the Air Force puts in its Airmen, regardless of age or experience.

“During roll call, our expediter (an experienced crew chief responsible for coordinating required maintenance taskings) gave out the tasks for the day. My task was to figure out why we were having this re-occurring problem with one of the jets,” said 23 year-old Senior Airman Samuel Privett, a 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member.

Privett spent a lot of time working with his team and interpreting the engineering diagrams to trace the problem the jet had.

“It took us about two days and several people overall to finally nail it down,” said Privett, who used the in-house fabrication machine to forge a $250 dollar solution that salvaged the $140 million plane, also saving 200 hours of maintenance and valuable flight time for the jet. Replacing the entire affected system would have cost approximately $40,000 to $50,000

This in-flight weapons system maintenance issue affected the radar cross section of the F-22 and persisted over a period of a few months. This reduced the effectiveness of the F-22’s low observability, which meant enemy aircraft and radars — operational or simulated — would have a better chance of identifying the aircraft.

Thanks to Privett and his team, who he says were instrumental in the task, the F-22 now joins only 186 others in service.

“Senior Airman Privett plays a key role in fostering teamwork and ensuring accurate communication from shift to shift,” said Master Sgt. David A. Riddle, the 43rd AMU weapons flight chief. “In conjunction with other members of the mighty 43rd Hornet Weapons Flight, we were able to isolate the malfunction that had been eluding us for quite some time.”

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US Flyover in S. Korea Seen as Show of Force


By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. military flew four of the most advanced fighter jets over South Korea in a clear show of force against North Korea

The high-tech, stealth F-22 planes landed at Osan Air Base after the flyover, escorted by other U.S. and South Korean fighter jets. The demonstration underscored the United States’ airpower that can be called upon to defend its ally, South Korea, from potential aggression from North Korea.

“The F-22 ‘Raptor’ is the most capable air superiority fighter in the world, and it represents one of many capabilities available for the defense of this great nation,” Lt. Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, deputy commander of the U.S. military command in South Korea, said in a statement.

The show of force came 10 days after North Korea used a long-range rocket to fire a satellite into space. The U.S. military would not say how long the F-22s will be deployed in South Korea.

The F-22 Raptor, each costing $143 million, became operational in 2005, but only saw initial combat in attacks on Syrian ISIS positions in late 2014. The fifth-generation single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF).

Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor and was responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems, and final assembly of the F-22, while program partner Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems. The aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.

South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye addressed North Korea’s nuclear bomb program, saying that South Korea will take unspecified “stronger and more effective” measures to make North Korea realize its nuclear ambitions will result only in accelerating its “regime collapse.”

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