The F-35B

February 3, 2014 --

Some Embarrassing Details From the Pentagon’s Latest Stealth Fighter Report

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August 29, 2013 -- Reuters

U.S. Marines see progress in F-35 testing despite challenges

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January 20, 2013 --

Design flaw in 'Lightning II' F-35B jet raises fears of lightning-induced explosions

"It’s the world’s most expensive combat aircraft, but don’t expect it to fly in bad weather: The $237-million F-35B has been banned from traveling within 25 miles of a thunderstorm, amid fears that lightning could cause its fuel tank to explode. The announcement is a major setback for the combat plane, which is set for use in the US Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force."

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May 24, 2012 -- Defense News

U.S. Military May Deploy F-35 Before Formal IOC

"The U.S. military may deploy the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) before the tri-service fighter is formally declared Initial Operational Capable (IOC), top uniformed officials told Congress on May 24."

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May 16, 2012 -- Flightglobal

USAF: F-35B cannot generate enough sorties to replace A-10

"The US Air Force has concluded that the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) Lockheed Martin F-35B- model aircraft cannot generate enough sorties to meet its needs; therefore the service will not consider replacing the Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog close air support jet with that variant."

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June 17, 2012 -- Flightglobal

Lockheed awarded $489.5 million contract for F-35 long-lead items

"The US Department of Defense is awarding Lockheed Martin a $489.5 million contract to provide long lead-time items required for the seventh F-35 low-rate initial production lot."

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February 21, 2012 -- The INSIDER

Report: Permanent Fixes Still Needed For Three Of Five F-35B Issues

"Three of the five fixes to the Marine Corps' short-takeoff, vertical-landing variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter involve a temporary solution with a more permanent fix needed later on, and one of those fixes would require corrective action on the part of the pilot in some cases, according to a report reviewed by Inside the Navy."

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Jan. 20 that the F-35B would end its two-year probation a year early because the JSF program office had found engineering fixes for each of the five problems identified on the aircraft. In a report to Congress on the F-35B's probation status also dated Jan. 20, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's acting under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, detailed the F-35B's problems and explained what fixes the program is implementing."

"The report focused on five areas: the bulkhead (cracking developed after 1,500 hours of fatigue testing); the upper lift fan door (vortices of air were rolling off the door, creating excessive loads on the auxiliary air inlet doors); the lift fan clutch (crews encountered clutch heating intermittently during up and away flight); the driveshaft (metal was expanding due to excessive heat, causing "thermal growth" which affected horizontal movement of the aircraft); and the roll control nozzle (the nozzle was overheating during STOVL operations at low air speeds of less than 60 knots)."

"Of those fixes, only two of those appear to be permanent, according to the report. The bulkhead has been "redesigned for production, with fixes identified for retrofit as needed," and fatigue testing on the aircraft resumed Jan. 19, the report states. That testing had been halted in November 2010."

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February 21, 2012 -- The INSIDER

DOD Report To Congress On JSF STOVL Variant

"The Jan. 20, 2012, Pentagon report to Congress includes "an identification of the criteria that the [defense] secretary determines must be satisfied before the F–35B Joint Strike Fighter can be removed from the two-year probationary status imposed by the secretary on or about Jan. 6, 2011."

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February 6, 2012 -- United States Senate

Letter from the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services to the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

"On Friday, January 20, 2012, without prior notice to or consultation with Congress, you lifted the two-year "probation" on the F-35B."

"We appreciate that the development of F-35B has enjoyed some success over the last few months, after several years of having fallen short. We similarly understand that engineering solutions to known problems with the F-35B's structure and propulsion have been identified. However, in the intervening time since probation was imposed, more problems with the F-35B's structure and propulsion, potentially as serious as those that were originally identified a year ago, have been found. This is salient where the F-35B has completed only 20% of its developmental test plan to date. Your decision, therefore, appears at least premature."

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February 1, 2012 --

It's 'hurry up and wait' for Joint Strike Fighters

"Welcome to the supersonic version of the tortoise and the hare."

"New delays in development and delivery of the next generation of fighter jets has communities all over America worried, but still clinging to hope that even as a tortoise the Joint Strike Fighter will someday cross the finish line."

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January 16, 2012 --

Beaufort commander leads 'historic' flight for new Marine jet

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December 11, 2011 -- Bluffton Today

F-35 project a waste of taxpayer monies

"The current GAO estimates for the delivery, operation and maintenance of these about 2,500 planes is an astounding $1 trillion."

"However, $1 trillion spent on aging infrastructure, declining educational standards, technology development currently being sent overseas and drug reduction within our own borders could be the beginning of a different type of warfare meant to improve conditions rather than destroy them."

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November 18, 2011 -- The DEW Line

New cracks for the F-35B, and life under probation

"Flightglobal exclusively reports that tiny cracks have been discovered on three of the F-35B flight test aircraft, which prevent vertical landings until they are fixed."

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March 16, 2011 --

Marines will use Navy and Marine versions of jets

"The five squadrons of F-35Cs are expected to be carrier based – three going west and two to Beaufort, S.C."

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January 25, 2011 -- The New York Times

New Details on Troubled F-35 Fighter

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Fatigue cracks found on F-35B bulkhead

Another setback for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. During ground tests, fatigue cracks were discovered in the aft bulkhead of BH-1.

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90% of America’s combat aviation power is eventually supposed to come from F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. But the $388 billion program has busted its budget so badly, it’s on the verge of collapse. So a couple of weeks back, some two-bit defense pundit proposed overhauling the JSF effort by getting rid of its most expensive, most technically-complex model: the one for the Marines that takes off and lands vertically, helicopter-style. It’s a neat trick but its battlefield utility is debatable. “The Marines have talked themselves into believing they really need this capability,” one senior defense official told me. “But it’s one we’ve never counted on in any fight.”
Now, as if on cue, the Marines’ Joint Strike Fighter is once again proving itself to be the problem child of the F-35 program. Bob Cox with the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Lockheed Martin-built F-35B has only completed 91 of its test flights this year — far short of the 125 scheduled. “Failure rates are higher than predicted,” Lockheed CEO Bob Stevens tells Cox. The cooling fans, lift fan doors, actuators, and other switches are the current headaches.
In contrast, Cox notes, test flights for the stealth jet’s two other models “are both well ahead of plan.” Looks like it’s time for those to be the only two models.
Of course, just when the JSF program needs to trim down, the House defense appropriations panels lards it up with $450 million for a second F-35 engine that the Pentagon says it doesn’t need. As if the program wasn’t expensive and complicated enough already.
Photo: USAF

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 Beaufort is a town second to none.

This community has to now realize the peace and tranquility may disappear: Its environment and quality of living is threatened by the Navy’s choice which is supported and campaigned for by the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor to place the training center for the East Coast F-35Bs at the MCAS, Beaufort.

This is not an acceptable choice for Best4Beaufort. It proposes to have 106,030 flight ops per year:  A 71% increase over the number of F-18 flight ops (operational squadrons) we now have. With the training center, the new “student pilots” will be flying a single engine, single pilot jet.  A higher risk and more noisy jet than the F-18s.

Best4Beaufort is a group of concerned residents who are educating and informing the public about this abrupt and threatening environmental change facing us. We are researching the information in the May 2010 draft EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) which gave no specific data on the F-35Bs noise.

However, after 2 months of research, we can deduct the F-35B is at least twice as loud as the F-18 we currently have. This level of noise and the number of jets flown daily are not acceptable to Best4Beaufort.

August 2010