F-35 Depot Work Goes to Utah

According to Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the Air Force has taken the “not totally unexpected” step of assigning depot-level maintenance work for the new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah. In a June 20 statement, Bishop further stated, “This helps cement Ogden’s role as the nation’s premier fighter depot and will have a big impact on future employment in northern Utah.” The Utah ALC currently handles depot maintenance for the F-16, which the F-35 is destined to replace. Bishop speculated, too, that it’s “pretty likely that Ogden will provide worldwide support and expertise” for F-35 partner nations. The statement from Bishop’s office also noted that the Air Force formally named Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB, Okla., for the F-35 engine work. However, Bishop tempered his enthusiasm for the JSF news with a warning that “we’ve put off seriously building this airplane for way too long,” adding that “Congress has refused to fund production of enough to meet our needs.” He believes, “It’s time to really step things up in terms of timeline and production.”