Madison, Alabama-based Aerobotix has developed a robotic technology for U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance personnel to restore coatings on F-22 engine inlets as part of a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research contract.
The Phase II SBIR contract awarded to Aerobotix supports the efforts of Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to increase the efficiency of the F-22 robotic intake coating restoration process, the service branch said Tuesday.
The AFLCMC F-22 System Program Office at Hill Air Force Base oversees the F-22 fleet from engineering and logistics perspectives and the office also leads efforts to update current maintenance processes that involve the manual application of specialized coatings.
“The depot F-22 maintainer’s workload is challenging and this project will help speed up that restoration process and ultimately the throughput of the depot,” said Colin Allen, an F-22 structures and system safety engineer at AFLCMC.
“The number of F-22s to go through the restoration process on a yearly basis will be based on mission requirements and depot availability, but the objective remains to get the aircraft back into the warfighter’s hands as quickly as possible.”
Phase 3 of the SBIR project will involve the procurement of Aerobotix robots for three of the bays at Hill AFB, the Air Force noted.
The branch added its maintenance teams will evaluate the test results of the robot sprays as well as train depot personnel that will operate the robots.