HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- The F-22 Raptor now has its very own spot in the Hill Air Force Base garage.
On Thursday morning, Hill officials opened a new F-22 facility along the base's flightline that will be used for depot-level maintenance on the fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
Maintenance will include corrosion control, paint, modification and heavy maintenance, and other programmed modifications.
Operated by the 309th Maintenance Wing's 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, the nearly 70,000-square-foot building has two maintenance and flight test hangars, three paint booths, and support space that includes offices, a break room material inventory center, tool crib, a paint-mixing room, and equipment rooms.
Maj. Gen. Andrew Busch, commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center, said Hill will have performed more than 200,000 hours of depot maintenance on the F-22 before 2010 is finished, and those work hours will only increase as time goes on.
"This facility is what we need," Busch said.
Ogden-based Big-D Construction built the facility, and the $39.5 million military construction contract was managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Sue Dryden, vice director of the 309th Maintenance Wing, said the new facility will allow the base to sustain work it already performs and will bring more in the future.
"It will enable us to take on additional workloads in the future," Dryden said. "It will open up opportunities for new workloads for the F-35 as well."
The additional workload likely means additional jobs, but how many is impossible to tell at this point, Dryden said.
Construction on Phase One of the facility began in May 2008 and was completed in March 2010 of this year.
As the new building opens, a second phase of construction has already started on the east and south sides of the facility.
The 96,000-square-foot addition will house an F-22 heavy maintenance facility and composite back shop, five aircraft maintenance docks, a paint booth and a paint removal bay.
F-22 maintenance work at Hill began in April 2006 and has been performed in buildings on the west side of the flightline.
F-22 operations will fully transition into the new facility once Phase Two is completed.
Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, both spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the facility's official opening Thursday morning.
"We hope the F-22s are never called upon," Bennett said. "But if they are, they will be ready. And they will be ready because of this facility."
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