Army Corps tests fire response system as F-35 hangar nears completion

Published March 28, 2016

By John Prettyman

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District is taking no chances that a rare but catastrophic aircraft fire could destroy one of the U.S. Air Forces’ new F-35 Lightning II jets.

The Corps is completing construction on an $18.5 million hangar at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The jet hangar is designed to house up to six F-35 jets, allowing operators to provide maintenance and support to the advanced aircraft in a safe, state-of-the-art facility.

One of the safety features is its fire suppression system.


 F-35 outline

Red tape simulates the approximate location and size of an F-35 jet before the foam dump test.

 Foam dump

A time-lapse video shows high-expansion foam covering the F-35 hangar floor in 60 seconds.


The Corps recently performed a foam dump test, pumping nearly 1,000 gallons of water per minute into five overhead outlets where it mixes with foam and is rapidly expelled to extinguish any potential jet fire.


 Project Engineer Tom Stonehocker explains testing of the new F-35 hangar and fire suppression system.


The foam dump is one of the final tests before the nearly 76,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to be complete later this year.


F-35 hangar

The east and west portions of the new F-35 hangar at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. More photos


“It was a lot of fun to be involved in this project and building a facility that helps the Air Force maintain the F-35 and also defend and protect this country,” said Tom Stonehocker, project engineer and architect for the Sacramento District.


A new F-35 jet parked in a hangar at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. More photos


Hill Air Force Base expects to receive nearly 75 F-35 jets and the Corps is a crucial partner in constructing a number of facilities in support of the installation’s mission.

The F-35 Lightning II is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fighter and has enhanced capabilities that make it the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter. It will replace the aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II’s, which have been the primary fighter aircraft for more than 20 years.