Organic Modifications to First F-35 Completed

The first F-35 Lightning II to undergo organic depot modifications departed Hill AFB, Utah, for Nellis AFB, Nev., on March 25 where it will undergo continued operational testing. The aircraft, which arrived at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex in September 2013, underwent four structural modifications to strengthen the aircraft and extend its service life. The aircraft is considered a “prototype modification” because it helped Ogden officials “solidify its technical processes,” states a March 25 release. “This was the first time the Ogden ALC accomplished depot work on the aircraft, and new and improved ways of doing the modifications were discovered,” states the release. The improved technical guidance will help maintainers conduct subsequent F-35 repairs, said Maj. Gen. H. Brent Baker, Ogden ALS command, in the release. “It was a team effort with Ogden ALS providing the touch labor and Lockheed Martin providing engineering support,” said Baker. The depot received its second strike fighter—a Dutch F-35—on Feb. 14, and its third aircraft—a US-owned jet—arrived on March 15, states the release. Ogden is slated to modify a total of six F-35s this fiscal year and eight strike fighters are expected to be inducted into the depot in Fiscal 2015, states the release.