Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma prepares for the F-35

We hear a lot of talk about infrastructure, but we most likely don't apply that to things like basing new fighter airplanes.  But when it was determined that F-35s were to be based at Yuma Air Station, infrastructure became one of the first areas that required upgrading.  Recently, the first hanger that will house F-35s was completed.  Hanger 80.

Phil Klendworth tells you why that was necessary:
In regards to Yuma, we initially did a site activation survey of that base back in 2008. During that Site Survey, we realized the infrastructure and facilities at Yuma were already 30 to 35 years old and being utilized at capacity. The JSF Team conducted a business case analysis and came to realization that it was more cost effective to not take any of the existing facilities out of service at this point and build new. The new construction will have all the JSF facility requirements incorporated to support 270 VDC electrical systems. The older facilities will be renovated or replaced when the AV-8 Harrier aircraft is retired.

The primary facility we focused on was the maintenance hangar. The hangar will be configured with internal aircraft electrical power, cooling air and a secure Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) infrastructure that is compatible with the JSF Air System to minimize the need for support equipment and stove piped computer systems. The ALIS infrastructure communicates across the base, Marine Corps and JSF Enterprise to manage the JSF Fleet.

The second facility we focused on was the aircraft simulator training facility that will house the JSF Full Mission Simulators. The FMS will provide realistic multi-aircraft tactical training to maintain pilot currency and minimize the number hours required in a real JSF. This saves operations and maintenance cost and reduces risk.
Hanger 80 is the first of the structures completed which is designed exclusively to support the F-35.  You have to remember, it was 30 plus years ago that the Marine Corps last got new fighter aircraft.  And, as is obvious, the requirement for the new aircraft is significantly different than those for the fighters being retired.

Klendworth mentioned the simulator training facility.  That too has now been completed:
A flight simulator for F-35 fighters is the latest facility for the new jets to be completed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma.

Work on the two-story, 43,150-square-foot flight simulator was part of $150 million worth of construction projects taking place at base. 
Yuma will begin getting its F-35s this year and will eventually base 88 F-35Bs at the facility.

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