New hangar boosts Holloman’s capabilities

Airman 1st Class Siuta B. Ika

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 2 opens the LO hangar at Holloman Air Force Base. The facility, which has been under construction for more than two years, will boost the 49th MXG’s capability to repair the LO coating of an aircraft in a more timely manner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman DeAndre Curtiss)

49th Wing Public Affairs

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE — For decades, the U.S. Air Force has epitomized air superiority thanks to aircraft such as the F-117 Nighthawk, B-2 Spirit, F-16 Fighting Falcon and most recently, the F-22 Raptor. One thing all of the aforementioned aircraft have in common is each has its own unique set of low observable coatings that prevent effective detection or tracking of each aircraft.

At Holloman, a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony was held Nov. 2 for the base’s new Low Observable Composite Repair Facility.

“The purpose of the facility is so we can spray-repair the low observable coating or stealth capabilities on an aircraft instead of doing a brush-roll application,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Berger, 49th Maintenance Squadron assistant LO section chief. “The facility itself has three spray booths in it and we can do LO repairs or restorations on three separate aircraft at the same time. The facility is amazing.”

Berger explained the need for the new LO hangar.

“You can’t spray in a [regular] facility,” he said. “We haven’t been able to do spray repairs here in any other hangar in large amounts. We’ve been restricted to very small amounts of spray inside of the existing hangars, but with this new facility, we’re unlimited. We can spray as much as we’re allowed to, which enhances our capabilities.”

The 49th Maintenance Group commander, U.S. Air Force Col. André Kennedy, explained some of the benefits the new hangar brings.

“This will decrease the residual amount of damages, and increase aircraft availability of the world’s premier fighter for operations at home and abroad,” he said. “The upgraded facility provides a more stable work environment, allowing us to control conditions such as temperature and humidity, which is necessary for quality LO repairs and consistent coating.”

The hangar, which was under construction for more than two years, benefits Holloman’s aircraft and Airmen alike, Berger said.

“The facility will impact the mission because it will allow us to do more quality repairs than we’ve done when we didn’t have the facility,” he said. “Since the needed repairs are sporadic, we can have an aircraft in this facility, in at least one booth, year-round. Also, it provides a training aspect that a lot of our young Airmen weren’t able to get here but were able to get at other bases. Now that we have the facility, we can train them on all of the LO stealth coating spray applications, and we didn’t have that option before.”

Perhaps the best thing this new asset will bring Holloman is its versatility, Berger said.

“The facility can be used to spray any fighter aircraft, it’s not just for F-22s,” he said. “Any aircraft that can fit in there can be sprayed.”

For more information about Holloman and its personnel, please visit the Holloman website at www.holloman.af.mil; or visit the Holloman Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HollomanonFB.

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