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US Air Force anticipates more partnering with relocated F-35 operations centre at Wright-Patterson AFB

The US Air Force (USAF) expects better responsiveness for Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) support issues with the relocation of an operations centre from the aircraft's manufacturing site in Fort Worth, Texas, to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) in Ohio.

General Arnold Bunch, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) chief, said on 4 June at a Defense Writers Group event that the service is building up its Hybrid Product Support Integrator (HPSI) force at Wright-Patterson AFB, the home of AFMC's Life Cycle Management Center (LCMC). Having the HPSI working next to this relocated F-35 operations centre will help the service be as responsive as possible, he said. The HPSI supports the entire F-35 enterprise, including joint and international partners.

Mike Miles, from Lockheed Martin F-35 logistics solutions, said on 2 June that this operations centre takes calls from anywhere in the world and delivers support, whether it is for a certain part, technical data, or help solve a deployment-related issue. Miles said that a pilot having an emergency could call the operations centre and get engineers on the phone for rapid support.

Lockheed Martin plans to declare initial operational capability (IOC) for this relocated operations centre later this year, said Miles. A small crew will remain in Fort Worth to assist inquiries from Wright-Patterson AFB, he added.

The USAF announced in December 2018 that Wright-Patterson AFB was the preferred location for the HPSI, which was established in 2016 outside Washington, DC, at the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO). Miles said that the Pentagon is paying for the relocation and Lockheed Martin is paying for the billets that move from Fort Worth to Wright-Patterson AFB.

The JPO and the AFMC did not return requests for comment prior to publication.

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