In the past, we have brought you this video on the engineering of an F-22. Now, we have images of the beastly jet's reconstruction courtesy of the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. (DVIDS)
In April 2018, the F-22 07-4146 was damaged due to an incident that involved incorrect takeoff and landing data of the runway length at Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada. This resulted in the pilot retracting the aircraft's landing gear sooner than they should have, causing the jet to crash back down on the runway.
Although the pilot was unharmed, the same could not be said about the jet which suffered severe damages. It took nearly four years at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to rebuild the plane but the work is almost done and the images are impressive.
The rebuilding process began with more than a year of running models and simulations to determine whether or not the aircraft was salvageable and to conceive of a plan for repairing it. Once that was done, the crew was ready to go.
“Everything worked out in the simulations, so the aircraft was put in our hangar in January 2020 and put on stands,” U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kevin Fitch said in a DVIDS statement. “That’s when the complete strip started — the wire harnesses, the struts, and the bulkhead. It was down to the bones of the fuselage at that point."
“Contractors, engineers, and structures personnel spent about 16 months replacing almost the whole bottom of the aircraft, the fuselage stations, and more than 40 wire harnesses,” Fitch continued. “Our active-duty guys didn’t start having a hand in the rebuild until June this year.”
The team had to coordinate with multiple different backshops and agencies to get all the parts necessary to build the jet but in the end, the effort and years of work were well worth it. The F-22 should be back in operations soon.
If this story piqued your interest read this one about upgrading the F-22s.