First F-35C arrives at Hill for depot modifications
By Alex R. Lloyd, Ogden Air Logistics Complex
/ Published April 20, 2016
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The Ogden Air Logistics Complex inducted a Navy F-35C carrier version April 15 and is now the first depot facility to perform modifications for all three F-35 variants.
The Navy F-35C Lightning II was flown in from Eglin AFB, Florida, by Navy Capt. Mark Weisgerber, 33rd Fighter Wing vice commander.
"Hill has the capacity to accomplish the needed modifications and it is important to optimize the workflow within the Air Logistics Complex," Capt. Weisgerber said.
The first F-35 arrived at Hill Air Force Base for modifications in Sep 13, 2013. Since then, the depot has performed modifications on the Air Force's fleet of conventional takeoff and landing F-35As and has completed work on four Marine Corps F-35Bs, short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft, helping the Marine Corps reach initial operational capability.
For the Navy's carrier variant, the complex's 570th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, along with Lockheed Martin, will perform structural upgrades, low-observable restoration and system modifications that will enhance performance across the aircraft's service life.
"The men and women of the 570th have risen to the challenges of supporting the dynamic changes in this program and take great pride in being the first depot to work on all three variants of the F-35," said Greg Hoffman, 570th AMXS director.
With the program's ever-evolving requirements, exact numbers of how many aircraft will be worked on this year is not available. The squadron's main focus will center on completing work on the Air Force fleet of F-35A models and Navy's F-35C models and returning the aircraft to the warfighter better than they arrived.
"Depot capacity supports all three services and international partners and it is vital for the program to grow and mature by bringing the C model to Hill," Weisgerber said.
"We were able to support the US Marine Corps with critical modifications on the F-35B to meet their initial operational capability (IOC) milestone" said Hoffman, "and today we are working closely with the 388th Fighter Wing to provide modifications that will ensure they are able to meet their IOC target with the F-35A and are proud to support the Navy with work on the F-35C".
The complex has been planning for the arrival of the C-model for months and expects work on the jet to last through early September as they train with the new aircraft and perform verification and validation of new modifications.