Snubbing F-22 Maintenance Costs

The Air Force Research Lab has snubbed potential maintenance costs associated with the F-22’s engine, possibly saving the Air Force millions of dollars. Before AFRL’s propulsion researchers discovered the “snubber,” a tiny, $35 rubber vibration damper to help prevent cracks in the J seal on the F119 engine’s inlet case, maintainers would have to pull out the engine and drill to stop cracks from growing. If problems occurred during drilling, maintainers would have to discard the $362,000 inlet case. Now, the Air Force has begun fitting seven snubbers on each F119. “We hope this will eliminate a huge maintenance driver at a very, very low cost,” said Stephen Bringman, a manager in AFRL’s F-22 propulsion division. The snubbers entered service in April and have logged about 3,000 flight hours. (Wright-Patterson report by Laura Dempsey)