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| Friday January 19, 2018
Hill begins modifications on F-22A Raptor
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A new era is under way for members of the 309th Maintenance Group here as they modify their first F-22A Raptor.
18-04-2006 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- This was the first of 12 to 14 aircraft scheduled to visit Hill this year for minor modifications. A total of 18 are contracted to undergo work here.

"We're excited," said Guy Phillips, F-22 maintenance squadron director for the 309th MXG, about its new customer. "Most of us are a little apprehensive, but are well prepared and have lots of experience on aircraft. We're also confident that, with the experienced Lockheed contractors training us, we'll establish our comfort zone and reduce our training curve quickly."

Maj. Evan Dertien flew the aircraft from Langley Air Force Base, Va., to Hill for the modifications, and was met by a group of local media representatives interested in everything from the Raptor's increased capabilities to how comfortable it was to fly.

"It's really very comfortable," Major Dertien said. "There's nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Flying it is a dream come true for me, having heard about it during its initial development stage years ago."

The major said even its closest rivals aren't in the same league. The Raptor combines sensor capability, integrated avionics, situational awareness and weaponry, providing pilots first-kill opportunity against threats airborne or on the ground. F-22 pilots use a sophisticated sensor suite to track, identify, shoot and kill air-to-air threats before being detected.

"We can track targets and initiate contact before they even know we're in the area," Major Dertien said. "By the time they realize we've engaged it's too late."

According to Mr. Phillips, each F-22 should spend 35 days here.

"Our first modification is night air-to-air refueling designed to enhance the boom operator's night vision and receptacle location while performing in-flight refueling."

Mr. Phillips said the first three aircraft will be modified by one shift due to ongoing training, but the remainder will be modified by two shifts.

Many of the maintainers attended classes at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to bring them up to speed, in preparation of the F-22's arrival.

"(The Nellis instructors) have been excellent to gear up and train not only the depot civilians, but also our 649th Combat Logistics Support Squadron here that is part of our F-22 team," Mr. Phillips said. "Due to the complex nature and constant advancements in aircraft technology, our people are always being trained and certified. Our on-the-job training is being provided by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the original manufacturers of the Raptor."

Source: Air Force Materiel Command News Service

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