The Joint Strike Fighter Program, a Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps initiative, together with the 3M Corp. and the Boeing Co., has developed technology to replace exterior paint on military aircraft, creating the first military "paintless aircraft."
"The paintless aircraft technology represents an environmental breakthrough for the military that has the potential to save the Defense Department billions of dollars. The new technology will significantly reduce hazardous materials, cut fuel costs, and improve corrosion protection," said Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security Sherri W. Goodman at a press conference today.
The majority of all hazardous materials associated with aircraft comes from painting and depainting. The Joint Strike Fighter expects to save in excess of $3 billion for the life cycle of the fleet.
Robert Pirie, acting assistant secretary of the Navy, who joined Ms. Goodman at Naval Air Station Patuxent River said, "The Joint Strike Fighter initiative has afforded the Navy the opportunity to take a pro-active role in finding new ways to reduce hazardous materials disposal costs. And it has the added benefit of teaming the Navy and Marine Corps with other Services and industry in doing so."
The first "paintless aircraft" is currently being flight tested on an F/A-18 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
Rear Adm. Craig Steidle, director of the Joint Strike Fighter Program and Tad McCall, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health also joined Ms. Goodman and Pirie today at Naval Air Station Patuxent, Md.