US Air Force reports hurricane damage to F22s

Elias Hubbard
October 17, 2018

The US military says Hurricane Michael has caused extensive damage to F-22 stealth fighter jets at an air base in Florida. That number represents about 10% of all existing F-22s, which the United States relies on for air dominance against top-tier enemies.

Hurricane Michael struck northwest Florida as a category-four storm.

Tyndall is home to the 325th Fighter Wing, which trains pilots for the F-22 Raptors, which are each valued at up to $339 million. The prized jets are worth at least $143 million each. "Many could not be repaired due to parts availability".

Nelson, like the air force, gave no information on how many planes were on the base during the storm or how many were damaged. The 1st Fighter Wing at Langley hosts about one-third of the Air Force's Raptor fleet. The rest had been cannibalized, were grounded for repairs or lacked key upgrades for frontline duty. Photos that appeared online showed hangars missing roof panels - and the distinctive shapes of F-22s inside the wrecked structures. They are assessing the damage to ensure that trend continues.

"I think that fear is unfounded", Nelson said.

"As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I can say that Tyndall will be rebuilt, and it will be an example of a modern U.S. Air Force base". At some $150 Dollars million per jet as a unit cost, the total loss could run to $3.3 billion in a worst-case scenario. The Air Force has retired a few examples that mostly flew test flights.

The senators and Dunn sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Sec. Above - F-22s at Tyndall ride out Tropical Storm Alberto in May 2018. It remains in use as the Homestead Air Reserve Base but no longer houses the same level of activity. Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein praised base leadership for evacuating personnel, families, and aircraft in 48 hours.

Overall the damage was not as severe as originally feared.

In addition to the Hurlburt Field aircraft, response forces from the Air Force's Air Mobility Command at Travis Air Force Base in California have landed at Tyndall, bringing in two large C-17 transport jets loaded with equipment, supplies and personnel to help re-initiate air traffic and begin rebuilding the base.

The F-22 Raptor is among the most technologically advanced warplanes the USA uses. The F-22 force, accustomed to keeping just half of its planes mission-ready, could struggle to improve its overall flightworthiness while also repairing wind- and water-damaged planes.

An investigation into an F-35B crash in September led the Pentagon to ground all F-35s until it could determine whether there was a defect in the fuel lines. Air Force Secretary Wilson recently ruled out paying Lockheed Martin billions of dollars to restart Raptor production.

Japan has suffered through a similar crisis. Air bases nearby are offering support. Marco Rubio and Rep. Neal Dunn, requested the Air Force, as it conducts damage assessments, provide the funding and support needed to fix infrastructure, restore operations, and provide for airmen, civilians and their families. "Ultimately, our airmens lives are more valuable than aircraft".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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