Dominic Gates, the best Seattle-based aerospace reporter from Ireland, has a scoop today about defective parts on the Lockheed Martin F-22.
According to Gates’ story, Boeing, the F-22′s aft fuselage supplier, last month filed a lawsuit against Alcoa, its former supplier. The suit alleges that Alcoa failed to properly forge certain parts for the F-22, so Boeing supplied hundreds of the parts to Lockheed before the defect was discovered in 2005.
The story also says the US Air Force has determined the defective parts — struts that connect the wing to the forward boom of the aft fuselage — are not a flight safety issue, and that the forward booms should survive a full service life of 8,000 hours.
At the same time, the USAF has also contracted Boeing to conduct inspections of the parts at undisclosed intervals, Gates reports. You know, just in case.
The story gives me an excuse to take the F-22 cutaway poster down from the office wall. I believe I have identified the struts that Gates is writing about. These are clearly not parts that you’d want to see crack up prematurely in a dogfight.
On this close-up, the parts are checked in red. The forward boom is the connecting point between the aft fuselage and the wing.
And here’s a broader shot, with the area circled in red.