The US Air Force’s (USAF) 366th Equipment Maintenance Squadron (EMS) moved an F-35A Lightning II fighter jet to Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah, US, where the aircraft will undergo repairs.
The F-35A, which belongs to Luke AFB in Arizona, US, has been grounded for the past year.
366th EMS crash and recovery repair and reclamation section chief master sergeant Shane Mitchell said: “Our role as crash recovery started as first responders when the aircraft had an emergency last September.
“We have since been involved in the various stages of planning to get it from here to Hill AFB.”
Work to move the aircraft began in April this year and included various tasks ranging from assisting with route and site surveys to the actual lifting of the aircraft on to the specialised trailer used for transport.
Hill AFB 809th Depot manager Daniel Santos said: “366th Crash Recovery (an F-15 unit) was the first to do an actual lift on an F-35.
“What’s even more remarkable is Mitchell and his crew have no F-35 experience (or) training and, using F-35 tech data, they performed a flawless lift.”
In a separate contract awarded by Fokker Technologies, Asco Industries will supply Flaperon Spars for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II programme.
The F-35’s Flaperon Spars are highly complex titanium-machined components, which are claimed to form the core of the flap located at the trailing edge of the wing.
Production of the spars will be carried out at Asco’s corporate facility in Zaventem, Belgium. The Zaventem facility will also perform integrated surface treatments on the spars.
The spars will be delivered to Fokker in the Netherlands for performing the assembly in composite material and delivering the complete flap to Lockheed Martin.