“I’m not ready to say that all the F-22s can be fixed, but our initial review was perhaps more positive than I anticipated … in light of the amount of damage,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
As reported by Air Force Times, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sounded optimistic Monday about the chances of repairing an unknown number of F-22s and other aircraft that were damaged when Hurricane Michael battered Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida last week.
In a gaggle with reporters on the way to Vietnam, Mattis said that based on the initial review of damaged aircraft, it “looks like all the planes are fixable.” But he cautioned that a deeper inspection of the planes — which, for maintenance or safety reasons, were not flown to different location — is necessary before the U.S. Air Force (USAF) can be sure.
“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,” Mattis said.
More than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were left behind as Hurricane Michael bore down on Tyndall AFB on Oct. 10, 2018. As we have previously explained, it was initially reported that in Michael’s wake, many of those Raptors were damaged beyond repair, at a cost of more than $1 billion.
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