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Defense Technology Newswire 

Air Force ‘Snubs’ F-22 Engine Cracks 


By Eric Beidel 

The Air Force has developed a small rubber plug that could shave $20 million from lifecycle costs over the course of the F-22 program.

The fighter aircraft is prone to cracks that develop in the J-seal, a metallic material on an inlet case that mates the engine to the airframe. The problem has led to additional inspections and costly repairs.

The Air Force Research Laboratory has designed and patented a “snubber” to act as a vibration damper and prevent cracks from developing in the engines. The product is made from a specialized silicone rubber. The same kind of damping materials are used in sporting equipment such as tennis rackets, golf clubs and baseball bats.

When cracks were discovered on an F-22 before the snubber, the engine was removed so workers could drill the crack to keep it from growing. If something went wrong during this process, the $362,000 inlet case would have to be replaced.

Each snubber is a little bigger than a quarter and costs just $35. It takes seven of them to cover the problem areas on each engine. The Air Force intends to install them on both engines of all F-22s, officials said.

Reader Comments

Re: Air Force ‘Snubs’ F-22 Engine Cracks

Isn't it a little far into the program for a "quick fix"? And this, shortly after the F-22's OBOGS debacle.

Funny, isn't it, how the OBOGS (On-Board Oxygen Generator System) of the F-22 doesn't seem to work, despite over 20 years of R&D?

That doesn't seem to be an issue in the OBOGS systems used in other fighters, like the Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen, Mig-35, Su-35, J-10, and dozens of others --- to say nothing of PAST aircraft, like the Su-47 Firkin and F-20 Tigershark.

Even funnier is that not long after this was announced...;

...THIS was announced!;

And all this, after rust problems..;

...defective stealth materials...;

...jammed canopies...;

...stuff coming unglued...;

...and unexplained crashes...;

...all while delivering only 189 of 750 planned aircraft, in a completely different configuration than originally planned, over 10 years behind schedule, out of an aircraft built in the 2000s, refined in the 1990s, planned in the 1980s, and conceived in the 1970s --- as a means to protect America's discos from the Soviet Union.

It was all going so well!

Blacktail on 02/13/2012 at 22:14

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