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AFRL to Open F-35 Coatings Application Booth in October at Hill Air Force Base

The Advanced Power Technology Office within the Air Force Research Laboratory currently maintains a coatings application booth for Lockheed Martin-developed F-35 fighter aircraft at Hill Air Force Base which will begin operations in October 2017.

Defense Department, government and industry stakeholders will establish the coatings application booth at Hill AFB as part of a multi-year collaborative project that aims to help sustain the Air Force’s F-35 fleet, the service branch said Monday.

The booths will support the application of coatings for the F-35 units which will aid the operational life of each aircraft as well as offer corrosion protection and heat resistance.

Air Force researchers worked with maintainers, environmental and technical staff to understand logistical needs of the F-35 depot teams in a push to maximize the utilization of automation, commercial technologies and up-front investments on life-cycle maintenance cost reduction.

David Madden, APTO program manager at AFRL’s materials and manufacturing directorate, said the team used computer modeling systems to develop an airflow approach that can filter out particulates and reuse air during aircraft coating.

“Extra flow meters and additional sensors have been included in this booth that may … be able to calculate the amount of energy used per gallon of paint sprayed or measure how much electricity is used for each aircraft completed,” said Madden.

“In this way, we could develop production efficiency metrics that can be compared with traditional booth operations across the Air Force.”

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