Washington • The U.S. Air Force plans to move all F-22 maintenance operations to Ogden’s Hill Air Force Base, potentially creating about 200 long-term jobs in Utah and offering savings of up to $41 million a year to the military.
The Air Force says that merging the jet’s repair work, now split between Palmdale, Calif., and Hill’s Air Logistics Center in Ogden, would be more efficient and could save $747 million over the lifetime of the F-22 fleet.
"This is one where it made financial sense, as well as structural sense, to have it centered at Hill," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who represents the area.
"It’s a big plus for Hill, and it’s good news with all the negative stuff coming from the Department of Defense right now," Bishop added, referring to furloughs of civilian workers due to automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.
Hill already employs 266 workers in sustaining the F-22 fleet and has long pushed for consolidating functions there.
Bishop says that the Lockheed Martin facility in Palmdale will be able to take in other programs, so it’s not like Utah won and California lost.
However, the congressman noted that when another round of base closures gets started, the expanded operations at Hill could further prove its essential role to the Defense Department.
"It makes us more viable," Bishop said.
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