Wednesday, November 18, 2015

F-35 wing crack & fix IS a big deal!

Ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain...

via RT
IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly said the F-35C variant is distinguished by larger wings and more robust landing gear. It is designed for catapult launches and arrestments aboard naval aircraft carriers. Its wingtips also fold to allow for easier storage aboard a carrier.
The Lockheed Martin-made F-35 Lightning II fighter jets are for use on US Navy aircraft carriers. The news won’t affect the Navy’s ability to meet its planned operating date of August 2018. The discovery has prompted engineering contractors to develop a solution, but the cost of a retrofit is not yet known.
“Initial estimates indicate a modification of approximately a half a pound to the aircraft will fix it,” DellaVedova told IHS Jane's. “Modifications to planes flying today will be incorporated to ensure full life operation.”
The adjustments made to the cracked test plane will be applied to the rest of the fleet. The damage is not expected to affect current flight operations for any of the variants of the jet currently in service, according to UPI.
All of the F-35s flying today combined have logged fewer than 250 flight hours, according to Pentagon officials.
I popped this out as a topic because its being underplayed in my opinion.  Think about it like this.

The F-35 was once the subject of a DRASTIC weight reduction program.  The reason?  Fat jets don't fly fast, high or far.  Even now the plane is not meeting original goals for range.

So when the programs cheerleaders tell you that a half pound is no big deal remember this from Air Space Mag (2006)...
Inside Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas facilities, a squad of 550 engineers was formed to do the liposuction. Most of the weight was in the airframe, but with thousands of extra pounds to account for, the innards of the JSF also had to be redesigned. It was everybody’s problem. Directed by about a dozen team leaders, each plucked from his or her area of expertise (airframe, mission systems, engines, and so on), the engineers called themselves the STOVL Weight Attack Team, or SWAT.
Before the team was formed, the SWAT engineers had been watching the penalties imposed by the extra pounds. The F-35B was busting specs on landing speeds, especially in cases where a pilot returned with a full load of unexpended ordnance.
“There was a lot of agreement that the program was in a critical stage,” says Art Sheridan, the current director of F-35 affordability at Lockheed. With SWAT, “the company was putting its money where its mouth was,” he says.
That was in 2006 and that was about the STOVL version but the same applies across the board.  Issues abound and its past time to stop this concurrency nonsense and do this right.  Production should stop.  Flight testing should proceed and not another dime spent on mistake jets that will cost millions if not billions to repair.

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