F-35 to Get Dehumidification

F-35 to Get Dehumidification 9 May, 2019

Australian defence officials have been urged to consider round-the-clock dehumidification systems at an Air Force base near Newcastle to curb the corrosion risk for its fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.

Australia based reported that F-35 has to get dehumidification around the clock. Concerns over the risk of metal stress and cracking were raised in 2017, the year before the next-generation fighters were due to come to Australia.

Auditing and consulting firm KPMG was tasked with doing a report on the "intergranular corrosion mitigation options" for the 72 F-35A fighter jets, bought by the Australian Defence Force for $17 billion. KPMG report shows corrosion risks from salt to 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at the Williamtown RAAF base. The report warns aluminium parts are susceptible, and recommends full-time dehumidification.

The FOI report obtained by the ABC said of the three bases where the jets would be based, only Williamtown, near Newcastle, had been identified as having potential problems.

The risk is posed by salt and other climatic conditions.

Intergranular corrosion occurs as a chemical reaction between metal and the environment. 

The report points to Aluminium Alloy 7085, used in the construction of the F-35. "AA 7085 is reported to have increased susceptibility to intergranular corrosion," the report said. 

Issue 86