LOCKHEED MARTIN

Battle Damage Assessment and Repair for the F-35 and F-22

Key Objectives

  • Streamline the capture and communication of damage data
  • Provide accuracy to within 1/10th of an inch
  • Enable inspections to be conducted on a mobile computer

Highlights

  • NGRAIN supplies damage assessment capability for the F-35 and F-22
  • Enables damage data to be documented with high precision and accuracy
  • Increases operational readiness of fighters, reduces sustainment costs

Background

The F-35 and F-22 are fifth-generation stealth aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin. The F-35 is a single-engine stealth fighter designed for nine participating nations in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program — the largest cooperative initiative of its kind since World War II. The F-22 is a twin-engine stealth fighter developed for the United States Air Force.

NGRAIN supplies Lockheed Martin with an innovative Battle Damage Assessment and Repair (BDAR) capability that improves the way that flight maintainers are able to document and evaluate damage received by these aircraft in flight. Seemingly small factors, such as the depth of a scratch, or the apparent size of a hole can impact flight-worthiness, aircraft stealth capability, or even pilot safety.

Challenge

Recognizing these challenges, Lockheed Martin sought to streamline its damage and assessment processes for these aircraft. Traditionally, maintenance technicians would manually assess and track damaged areas by placing a transparent film over these areas and tracing reference points (such as fasteners and seams) with a marker. They would then cross-reference this information with repair data history captured in a spreadsheet.

Unfortunately, cross-referenced line drawings didn’t always provide an optimal platform to document repair information, making the entire inspection process cumbersome and time consuming.

Solution

NGRAIN’s BDAR capability enables aircraft maintainers to capture damage information within a detailed 3D virtual model of the aircraft.

When working with the software, aircraft maintainers can specify the aircraft tail number — an aircraft’s unique identifier — and review historical damage and repair data for that particular aircraft. Maintainers can visually identify damage, add useful metadata such as damage type and dimensions, and store the data in a backend database for future retrieval.

The BDAR solution is delivered on mobile, ruggedized computers and helps maintainers document information that can be used alongside other maintenance software to quickly assess whether identified damage could adversely impact the aircraft’s operational readiness. NGRAIN’s solution was first delivered to the F-35 program in its initial test runs with the United States Air Force, and after seeing the F-35 solution in action, the USAF requested the same solution for the F-22.

Results

When working with the NGRAIN solution, USAF maintainers reported that they could more easily visualize damage repair data thanks to this integrated technology, and appreciated having immediate access to historical aircraft information on-demand. Traditional inspection workflows have been streamlined and through the BDAR capability.

Ultimately, NGRAIN helps maintainers save time and reduce the maintenance time-to-flight ratio. Specific benefits include:

  • Increasing operational availability, ensuring aircraft can spend more time in the air and less time on the ground
  • Working more efficiently by reducing the time required to document, assess, and repair damage
  • Capturing damage data more accurately, reducing the probability that mistakes are made during maintenance

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