Close

Search

Search Menu
Photonics Media Photonics Marketplace Photonics Spectra BioPhotonics EuroPhotonics Vision Spectra Photonics Showcase Photonics ProdSpec Photonics Handbook

First Marine Corps Jet to Undergo Laser Peening Is Ready for Service

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email
The U.S. Navy aviation repair and maintenance facility Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) in Havelock, N.C., has completed the successful verification of the laser shock peening (LSP) process, following the induction of the first F-35B Lightning II aircraft to undergo the peening procedure in June 2020. The aircraft has been returned to fleet.

“The laser shock peening modification is essential to extending the life of the F-35B STOVL variant, and the ability to complete this procedure successfully allows FRCE to support this critical workload,” said FRCE Commanding Officer Col. Thomas Atkinson.

Laser shock peening strengthens the aircraft’s frame without adding any additional material or weight, which would reduce its capability by limiting its fuel- or weapons-carrying capacity.

The procedure helps extend the life expectancy of the fifth-generation F-35B fighter, which is the short takeoff, vertical landing (STOVL) variant flown by the U.S. Marine Corps. Verification of the process provides quality control by confirming it meets system-level requirements through a combination of inspection, analysis, demonstration, and testing.

FRCE completed construction on a $6 million, purpose-built laser shock peening facility in August 2019.

“The big picture here is that we set up a capability that has never been stood up before. We made STOVL history by completing verification of the laser shock peening procedure on the first Marine Corps aircraft inducted for the modification and returned to the fleet,” said Jeanie Holder, the F-35 Joint Program Office induction manager at FRCE. “As our local enterprise, we accomplished a lot to get the building stood up, get the equipment set up, and then roll the first aircraft into something that has never been done before.”

The first F-35B Lightning aircraft inducted for laser peening modifications at the FRCE's laser peening facility has been returned to the fleet, where it is ready for service. The laser peening procedure strengthens the frame of the aircraft without adding additional weight. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Press Office.
The first F-35B Lightning aircraft inducted for laser peening modifications at the FRCE’s laser peening facility has been returned to the fleet, where it is ready for service. The laser peening procedure strengthens the frame of the aircraft without adding additional weight. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Press Office.
Lockheed Martin, Curtiss-Wright Surface Technologies, and Northrup Grumman Corp. were additional stakeholders to FRCE and the F-35 Joint Program Office in the venture.

According to Scott Nelson, F-35 Joint Program Office induction manager at FRCE, verification of the peening process makes the process repeatable. “You could take that instruction now and go complete this modification anywhere in the world if you had an LSP facility because all the steps are correct and in the right order. You have everything you need to do it.”

The verification additionally marks FRCE as the first and only facility in the world capable of conducting the laser shock peening modification on an F-35 aircraft. A second facility, Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is scheduled to come online in the near future. The Air Force facility sent members of its workforce to observe and learn from the work done at FRCE, said Ike Rettenmair, the interim Fixed Wing Division director at FRCE.

The verification process totaled nearly 15,000 labor hours.

Photonics Spectra
Mar 2022
defensemilitary and defenseNavylaserslaser peeningAmericaaircraftaviationU.S. NavyU.S. Air ForceU.S. Marine Corpsmilitarymilitary & defenseIndustry News

LATEST HEADLINES
view all
back to top
Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS
©2022 Photonics Media, 100 West St., Pittsfield, MA, 01201 USA, [email protected]

Photonics Media, Laurin Publishing
x Subscribe to Photonics Spectra magazine - FREE!
We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.