The challenge for maintainers is keeping up with the "latest weapon system technology," he said. "But our technicians and support personnel have spent most of their careers working with new technology, so it won't be a new challenge." But preparing for the workload is an adventure in itself.
Depot activation for a new weapon system always presents challenges, but even more so for the F-22 given its high-end technology and sensitive profile.
"We're partnering with the aircraft's original equipment manufacturers (Lockheed-Martin and Boeing) to ensure we have the supply support we need," said Don Hallford, F-22 program manager.
Maintainers have to work supply line issues - making sure needed parts are on hand among other things, building a work area specifically for the F-22, and developing training requirements for mechanics.
"Most maintainers will tell you that being on the ground floor of a new weapon system is unique," said Dooner. "A lot of hard work goes into getting it off the ground but in the end, you have the opportunity to implement new ideas and ways of doing business. We have the chance to start anew, eliminating waste from our processes and procedures up front."
"And while the F-22 presents challenges when it comes to stealth technology, we've been working B-2 bomber maintenance for a while - about seven years - so we have experience in that field as well," he emphasized.
The maintainers continue, however, to take a proactive approach by sending personnel to field training detachments for hands-on schooling.