HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Maintenance work that will eventually bring 200 new jobs to the Top of Utah is ramping up at Hill Air Force Base.
Earlier this month, all depot-level maintenance work associated with the F-22 Raptor moved to Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex. The work was being split between Hill’s Ogden ALC and a Lockheed Martin facility in Palmdale, Calif.
The decision to consolidate all of the Raptor’s depot modification and heavy maintenance was made in May 2013, following a business case analysis led by the F-22 System Program Office. The analysis determined that by consolidating the F-22 work at Hill, the Department of Defense would see a minimum cost savings of more than $300 million over the program’s life cycle.
The Government Office of Accountability released a report in May 2014 that manager turnover, aircraft corrosion issues and high labor rates at Palmdale were also factors that contributed to the Air Force’s decision to move all of its F-22 maintenance work to Hill.
After the consolidation decision became final, the F-22 Program Office, the Ogden ALC, and Lockheed Martin Corp. implemented a 21-month incremental transition plan, which included the modification of existing Hill facilities, moving support equipment, and hiring of additional ALC personnel.
Hill spokesman Rich Essary said the coordinated ramp-down at Palmdale and ramp-up at Hill will result in six new F-22 depot production lines, beginning with the one that just started days ago. The operation will reach full capability by February 2015, doubling Hill’s current F-22 workload and bringing approximately 200 new jobs to the base. The Ogden ALC typically provided depot maintenance on about 12 F-22s every year, but the additional workload will increase that number to about 24 by 2015.
The last of 187 operational F-22s was built in 2011. The jet is expected to have a 30-year lifespan, but upgrades could lengthen its air time. According to the Air Force, one jet cost approximately $143 million.
Hill already has nearly 300 jobs on base associated with the F-22.