The US Air Force (USAF) has announced that its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors won’t meet the 80% availability requirement set by the former Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis.
Whilst the official availability rates for aircraft are highly classified Brigadier General Heath Collins, program executive office for fighters and bombers told reporters that the mission availability rates “are higher than they’ve ever been.”
It is understood that the major reason for the increase in availability is the reduction of flying hours currently being flown by the fleet. This has happened due to the withdrawal of the type from combat over Syria, the recent damage caused to multiple airframes during Hurricane Michael at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and limits due to an eathquake hitting JB Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.
Alongside these major helps, the USAF has also reallocated money towards increasing the numbers of spare parts for the aircraft and has also opened another maintenance bay at Lockheed Martin’s F-22 maintenance location in Marietta, Georgia.
Nick Ashwell-Rice has worked in aviation and defence journalism since 2014 whilst also maintaining a career outside of the industry. He has been Editor-in-Chief at Talking Aero since its inception