Initial assessments said that up to 17 of the F-22s had been destroyed, but top USAF officials later visited the base and said the damage wasn’t as bad as first thought
Hurricane Michael hit Tyndall with unexpected force and sooner than expected, and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) left some of the jets, which cost in the hundreds of millions apiece, behind in the base’s most hardened hangars.
But, as reported by MySanAntonio, the storm proved historically powerful, and images of the aftermath show the hangars torn open. Initial assessments said that up to 17 of the planes had been destroyed, but top USAF officials later visited the base and said the damage wasn’t as bad as first thought.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in fact sounded optimistic about the chances of repairing the F-22s and other aircraft that were damaged when Hurricane Michael battered Tyndall AFB.
Mattis said that based on the initial review of damaged aircraft, it “looks like all the planes are fixable.”
“I’m not ready to say it can all be fixed, but our initial review was perhaps more positive than I anticipated … in light of the amount of damage,” he added.
A message from someone identifying themselves as a member of the 43rd Fighter Squadron appeared on a Facebook page called Air Force Forum. “Four 43d F-22s were left behind to ride out the hurricane,” the anonymous poster wrote. “One of them was scheduled to leave but GABed [ground aborted] after an issue prior to taxi. The other three were jets that couldn’t be spun up in time to fly.” He pointed out that two had been cannibalized for parts and the others had “issues that couldn’t be fixed. They were in hangars that [they] are usually put in according to hurricane plans.”
He also added that off-duty maintenance crews were recalled to duty “on Monday afternoon to spin up as many jets as they could to fly, with the last ones launched on Tuesday morning.”
However F-22 Raptors stationed at Tyndall AFB that were evacuated to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, ahead of Hurricane Michael, arrived at Langley AFB, Virginia, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, where they will operate temporarily and continue to train to provide combat air power for America.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Derek Seifert
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com