NEWS | May 5, 2021

149th Fighter Wing uses innovative new jet washing robot

By Senior Airman Ryan Mancuso 149th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

A new Gunfighter has arrived at the 149th Fighter Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland … a jet washing robot.

The new robot was programmed and tested at the 149th Fighter Wing under the AFWERX innovation initiative and was designed and built as a proof of concept to potentially be rolled out Air Force-wide.

The robot is able to fully wash an F-16 in an hour, a job that typically takes a team of four people up to six hours. Total aircraft downtime is also reduced from two days, down to one.

Typically, an F-16 would receive a wash every 180 days to prevent corrosion and prolong the lifespan of the airframe.

Cleaning removes any built-up dirt and grime, which includes grease, oil, and hydraulic fluids, as well as soot from the engines, smoke from firing the gun and launching weapons, and environmental debris like insects.