Are these the (allegedly) defective F-22 parts?

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.



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7 Responses to Are these the (allegedly) defective F-22 parts?

  1. James Lithgow 14 April, 2008 at 3:24 pm #

    Posted images are of classified nature. Cease and desist.

  2. Stephen Trimble 14 April, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    I think the above comment is probably a joke, but — in case DSS is reading — let me explain.

    The pictures come from an F-22 poster that’s hanging on my office wall. The poster is one of Flight’s famous cutaway drawings, in which the manufacturer invites our artist — Giuseppe “Joe” Picarella — to illustrate the aircraft in poster form.

    Joe draws thousands of detailed parts drawings for nearly every poster he makes, and each one is reviewed by the manufacturer’s security office for compliance with classification rules.

    So there is no issue here, nor should there be. Anyone who assembles a good model of the F-22 knows as much about the structure of the aircraft as what you see in this poster.

  3. Stephen Trimble 14 April, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Airpower, you are probably correct.

    The other thing that annoys me about the classification rules is how they seem to shift. You see things start out as unclassified, disappear into the black world, then pop back out again into the public domain. One wonders how many things go black just because they’re having problems, or maybe because they’re yielding unexpected benefits.

  4. ELP 14 April, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    “Posted images are of classified nature. Cease and desist.”

    These days, keeping huge budgets in the billions all happy-smiley face is just as important as protecting “classified” information. There is that other “enemy” to worry about: An unfriendly congressman.

  5. Matthew Spencer 16 April, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    Well, if they insist on using forged parts, they’re bound to be lower quality than genuine parts. Perhaps the local trading standards department should become involved?

  6. Scott Peterson 23 April, 2008 at 5:46 am #

    Why didn’t Boeing discover the defect in the parts when they were delivered initially by Alcoa? Quality control should have identified the defect and returned the parts to Alcoa for rework.

  7. KnightChatX 19 July, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    Too much secracy hinders some of our own countries technological development by limiting the number of minds locally which can access such information, it limits quality parts, products, and new and better things locally, it’s been cheaper to get parts manufactured overseas a longtime so that’s what we’ve done, but the loss is revenue generated and our actually classified/non-classified stuff at home since it’s going out there not in. This country used to be heavy in the steel and automotive industry but we let those things slip. And when you give your designs to another country’s factory to be manufactured by a third party then all bets are off on the security of that part, how you think scammers in foregn countries used to get our electronic circuit schematics? The foreign country offered business to us in exchange for service of generating the parts cheaper so long as complete detailed data is handed to them. On the upside, we could take the latest technologies in the X47B as great example of the upside to releasing private information publicly for development. When X47B was announced, many countries tried to recreate our stealth and other aircraft technologies, the thing is, when a country can’t afford to put that kind of money on defense projects, that money is money their military doesn’t have for other things, so what we’ve seen are these countries have lost major cashola and in greater debt and in such area’s don’t recieve a great deal of public support. So in that respect losing the secrets = bankrupting the copycats, which equals great news for local defense as those projects coming to a close by themselves due to lack of funding, interest, and they won’t have the money to buy other aircraft they wanted till 2035 to 2050, so yeah not so bad.

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