Pentagon: Crimped line caused F-35B grounding

Pentagon: Crimped line caused F-35B grounding

Engineers have discovered the flaw that has grounded the Marine Corps’ version of the F-35 since Jan. 18, Pentagon and industry officials have said.

Pentagon officials said the problem is with an “improperly crimped” fluid line, according to a Bloomberg report. Marine leaders said the problem is not caused by any “further design or maintenance issues,’ the report said.

Marine officials grounded their F-35 B fleet after a pilot aborted a takeoff at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., because of problems with the propulsion system. Pratt & Whitney build the propulsion system under the aircraft program that is overseen by Lockheed Martin.

The fluid line is found in the plane’s fueldraulic system where the aircraft uses jet fuel rather than hydraulic fluid to lubricate mechanical parts, Bloomberg’s report said.

The F-35 program remains tenuous as test flights continue. Lockheed Martin and the Defense Department officials have recently reported progress toward making up for delays and spiraling budgets seen over the past decade for the U.S. military’s most expensive weapons program.

Pratt & Whitney engineers have begun removing the “suspect” parts and continue to X-ray the aircraft for other problems with the propulsion system, said a Pratt & Whitney spokesman in a statement.

“The team continues to work diligently toward completing the investigation and implementing corrective actions with the supplier,” Bates said in a statement. “We anticipate a return to flight” soon.

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I don’t know what worries me more: Technicians not being able to do a proper crimping job, or the fact that the fueldraulic line is held in place by a crimp.

Meanwhile Australia has said that delays with the F-35 will now almost certainly force them to buy 24 more Super Hornets, bringing their total to 48, in order plug a gap in their capability.

Link: http://​www​.smh​.com​.au/​n​a​t​i​o​n​a​l​/​d​e​f​e​n​c​e​-​s​e​t​-​t​o​-​buy

IMO the whole JSF concept is flawed — is the savings in commonality between the AF, the Marines and the Navy worth the compromises in capability and the additional costs in developing the one-size-fits-all platform for everyone? i believe not. sure, the Marines and Navy share space, parts and technicians but they still have different missions — the Marines need an emphasis on CAS and STOVL capabilities while the carrier-launched planes must have a balance between strike capabilities and air-air combat. USAF does not really benefit from parts commonality with the Navy at all, but also probably does not suffer, as it has the F-22 to cover the high-end air-air combat and deep penetration roles. overall, I think the A and B variants are worthwhile (though I’d bet anything the AF will not end up buying NEARLY as much as they have promised) but the carriers need something twin-engined with stronger A-A capability. just my opinion.

“Lockheed Martin and the Defense Department officials have recently reported progress toward making up for delays and spiraling budgets seen over the past decade for the U.S. military’s most expensive weapons program.”

But rest assured, the Department of Defense still pays Lockheed Martin more the longer they drag out development and the more problems they have, and then they turn around and tell us they have everything under control. And it is ok, because apparently we are that stupid.

LockMart is notorious for this. Look at the F-22, Look at their LCS design, the F-35, pretty much every recent program from this is like this. And they get away with it by having truly tremendous lobbying efforts.

If Canada also cancels and gets Super Hornets (Or competition, but the super hornet has the best chance), then the whole F-35 program may well fall apart. Allies pulling out are going to skyrocket the price per unit for remaining countries, which will cause a death spiral. It’s happened to many projects before.

I agree, do everything designs end up with a product that does all of the things but does them poorly compared to specialized tools. When I need a knife I’d rather have a plain knife than a swiss army knife.

Hopefully this is a simple repair but the aircraft is overly complex because of it being a jack of all trades.

I still do not see the program being cancelled. I predictt in the end all 3 aircraft will survive and Japan will also buy the F-35B

In other news, Lockheed had another profitable year…

Something’s wrong with your “free market” when the incompetent are profitable simply because they are big, are in the right industry and know the right people.

It is a relatively simple repair/replacement. The part in question was improperly manufactured, and several other F-35Bs were identified with the defective line. The program was lucky: a fire or loss of the aircraft would have had dire consequences for the F-35B.

Better way to put it, when in a knife fight, you want a fighting knife and not a multi-tool. Pretty accurate? lol

If the reports are accurate, which is a rarity wrt this program, this will not be a big deal.

That said there are plenty of other reasons to slow down, scale back , and eliminate variants in this program. Like, why do I need a $150M stealth aircraft to fly CAS missions that have worse vulnerability designs than the aircraft they replace? CAS aircraft are going to get hit, it’s not like A/A at 35K. Why do I need a carrier variant that still can’t catch an arresting wire? Why do I need an A model with shorter legs than the C model when I’m pivoting to the Pacific and need all the range I can get and then some. Why do I need an all “Gen5” fleet when we will have plenty of missions that will not require the added cost, risk of compromising technology etc. that comes allong with “Gen5”?

Part 2

With the budget crisis we are in we should kill the A and B models and only make the C (adding USAF refueling receptacle for USAF aircraft). That way we would havemore of the needed range, very high commonality, fewer aircraft types to develop etc. By making all C models the C price will come down. Of course if they never get the hook working the USN may not need the C.

I’m with anymouse

Dump the B model its not working the A and C are more effective and work. Overall I say dump JSF all together and build more F-22s and make a Naval model of the F-22 and more F-15 upgrades this small dinky fighter is not worth the money or effort if the F-16 apart from Stealth is the same capabilities as this plane. But if we must have one make a A or C model. Save money dump the B.

“The fluid line is found in the plane’s fueldraulic system where the aircraft uses jet fuel rather than hydraulic fluid to lubricate mechanical parts”

To _actuate_ mechanical parts, surely.

Considering that the mechanical parts in question are in the hot section of the engine, itself the hottest engine in the inventory, using jet fuel there as a hydraulic substitute is a pretty questionable decision. One small leak and that zippy jet becomes a Zippo.

And once there’s an inflight fire, remember that the previously installed onboard fire suppression measures have now been stripped out in order to make weight targets.

These are the sorts of horrible engineering compromises which arise when the entire design is inherently right at the edge of acceptable mass margins.

Nothing quite highlights the technical illiteracy of amateurs as opining on technical matters beyond their ken. “Fueldraulics” isn’t some new high risk design concept. Engines have used fuel to control actuators for decades, and GE’s F414 engine uses it now. We now return you to your regularly scheduled whinefest, as I have an airplane to field.

“Engines have used fuel to control actuators for decades”

Reflect on this particular engine in this particular jet. A jet which is specifically doctrinally intended to fulfill a CAS role.

Planes that do CAS tend to abruptly develop leaks in random places all over the airframe. Where the size of the hole which is leaking is usually one of several common diameters. 7.62mm and 12.7mm are frequently noted.

In a CAS context, the number of such potential leaks which could cause an inflight fire and loss of the jet should held to an absolute minimum. As it is in, say, the A-10. In the F-35, by contrast and by design, such potentially disastrous leaks have been multiplied.

January 28, Inside Defense reported, “…program officials have formally identified a ‘quality discrepancy’ related to the aircraft’s engine — introduced by one of engine provider Pratt & Whitney’s suppliers — as the root cause of a recent failure on the F-35B…”

Any engine related problem is not good, but in a single engine aircraft any engine problem can be a much bigger problem.

The –B will replace the Harrier. The Harrier wasn’t particularly resistant to AA fire.

Is the weight margin the product of engine power, aircraft shape and desired performance envelope? Or some random number trotted out to make a “this is a lightweight fighter” promise?

They should never design a aircraft with one engine, especially not with something that is gonna cost 200–500 million per copy. If that single engine fails in flight it is guaranteed that you are now out an aircraft and more money than anyone of us will see in a lifetime.

Do not doubt the certainty that mission vulnerabilities have been factored into the vulnerability assessment. Consider the fact that even though the DOT&E report encourages the F-35 program to reinstall fueldraulic fuses that didn’t work because DOT&E asserts they, along with the removed PAO valve, increases the vulnerability “25%”, yet the JSF Program Office seems unalarmed, as if either the problem is so small (25% of ‘not much’ is ‘eh, whatever’) it can be ignored or more likely mitigated better/more cheaply via other means.Reflect on the fact that CAS is a mission and not a mission profile, and that the F-35 would perform that mission in all probability differently (gasp) than the rapidly obsoleting A-10.

Keep in mind the F-22 and F-35 are highly sophisticated aircraft from both a weapons as well as airframe designs. Their perforamnce capabilities have pushed design into new and previously untested capaibilities needed to ensure both target distruction while also protecting the pilot in high performance flight capabilities that have never been experienced. As a Marine officer’s kid and a 25 year USAF career, I don’t know of a single fighter aircraft that has come off the line that didn’t have a few “quirks”.

I guess one of the good things about being old is remembering history. Remember the F-111 farce. I was at Point Mugu where the Navy’s only one was. It never flew the 5 years I was there.

Skyhawks Forever

Thanks for proving you are ignorant regarding hydraulics. We really wanted to know. Thanks.
ALL hydraulics have been using crimp connectors for the last 100 years.

Torquewrench proves to the whole world and universe at large he knows nothing about hydraulics let alone the history of turbine engines as ALL turbines for MANY MANY MANY years use fuel as a hydraulic lubricant. $#%)$%($)%@3 stupid A$$ ignorant F$()WQ#)TARD arrogant BA$tards.

Way to place yourself into the obvious stupid Shit category! BRAVO!

Does the idiot torqueyboy think hydraulic fluid is somehow not highly flammable? HAHAHAHAHAH Good Grief, the ignorance is astounding. He must believe in magic beans as well.

Did we not learn anything from the F-111 Program where “One Size Fits All”? The F-22 is a much better choice for our USAF and the many allies who wanted it. If it had the 2000+ Plane Economy of Scale (Production) it’s unit cost may have had cost lest than the F-35.

Good synopsis

By definition, Vulnerability does not take into account the likelihood of getting hit. Vulnerability is about the effects induced after being hit.

Survivability includes both Susceptibility (likelihood of being hit) and Vulnerability (the effect when hit). Here is a quick reference: http://​www​.aircraft​-survivability​.com/​P​a​g​e​s​/​D​e​fin

This is standard in the industry.

Stealth will offset this poor vulnerability, especially in the air to air and strike roles, but CAS generally requires getting close and the benefits of stealth will be minimal for this mission (the primary mission for the B model).

We need to Cancel the “Junk Strike Fighter” program, I thought that the F-35A could be Salvaged but after reading “Reduced F-35 performance specifications may have significant operational impact” on “Flight Global” I don’t think so. Here is a Quote from an Experienced Pilot ( . “What an embarrassment, and there will be obvious tactical implications. Having a maximum sustained turn performance of less than 5g is the equivalent of an [McDonnell Douglas] F-4 or an [Northrop] F-5,” another highly experienced fighter pilot says. “[It’s] certainly not anywhere near the performance of most fourth and fifth-generation aircraft.”) Read the rest your self, Not Looking Good.


Very nice. I had no idea Ball had a website. But then, I own both editions of his textbook “‘Survivability’: The Fundamentals of Aircraft Survivability Analysis and Design”, so I’ve never thought to look. So, I am very much aware of the Susceptibility vs Vulnerability factors to Survivability, and thus knew all along that when the DOT&E report speaks to “Vulnerability” they were only speaking to the second half of the Survivability equation. None of this of course, alters in any way what I’ve asserted to date in the thread. It also does not follow that because we’ve flown low and/or slow in the past, we will continue to do so in the future.We have already seen how a B-1 with sniper pod can get on a target faster than an A-10 and with the Sniper pod, the B-1 at altitude hase equal or better situational awareness, including the ability to communicate real time and continuously with both the force on the ground and the CAOC . The F-35’s systems give its pilot SA way beyond the B-1/Sniper pod combo.

With the Russians going into production mode soon on the PAK FA so they can begin to produce it in 2016 and the new Chinese F-22 copy planes to start being produced probably around 2018 the USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps needs these planes because 4th generation planes will have increasing difficulties surving in the years after 2017 or 2018. I was hopingthe election would have gone the other way because I thought maybe then the F-22 line would not have been cancelled.


The real compromise was making a STOVL version period. The differences between the A/C are trivial by comparison. The AF could easily make due with a little bigger wing and more fuel (I’ve heard AF guys eyeing the “C” version’s fuel specs with envy). The STOVL version is cool and all but in no way justifies the added expense. Why do you need STOVL? To be close to the fight? Why do you want need a stealthy airplane to be close the fight? Why would you want a stealthy airplane to be close to the fight? You need some CAS forces to be used in a permissive environment? OK, we have helicopters for that.

Hear hear. OBTW, I heard they did get the hook working. The B makes no sense at all. Detailed sources are understandably sketchy, but by my eyeball I assume the A has some speed advantage over the C (stubbier wings) but the C has better low speed performance and much more fuel, but if you are trying to pivot to the Pacific you will probably end up hanging tanks on those A models and eliminate any advantage in speed you had.

Buy all “C” variants and save big $$.

“From what I heard the F-14 required too much maintenance per flying hour. ”

The Tomcat should have been called the Hangarpig. Awesome jet when flying. 50 hours of hangar time for every 1 hour of flight time. Actually a worse ratio than the SR-71.

But, that crummy availability of the F-14 was with 1970s vintage aircraft subsystems still flying in the 21st century. Systems reliability got a lot better in the decades after the F-14 left the Grumman Iron Works. Especially avionics reliability.

The reliability of the Hornet was pretty good right out of the gate, coming as it did a generation after the F-14, and improved even more with the Super Hornet. Why? Better systems design and better componentry and better quality control. Again, especially avionics.

If (now a moot point) the Navy had committed to new-build Tomcat 21 designs, throwing away all of the ancient 1970s vintage systems, and using fresh subsystem designs and clean new components, such a jet might have approached Super Hornet ratios of flight hours to maintenance hours.

Probably would not have ever been as reliable and available as the Super Hornet, because of the unavoidably greater mechanical complexity of the F-14 swing wing. But a Tomcat 21 could have been far cheaper to operate and far more ready to operate than was the classic Tomcat. A real shame this avenue was not tried.

Not to mention that a Tomcat airframe with modern avionics able to do ground attack targeting could return to the Navy its now lost heavy deep strike capability. Akin to what the F-15E provides for the USAF.

They all do it. All the subcontractors know how the game is played too. The defense giants are the only companies with the clout to keep all this crap from being exposed in our “free press”. It is 100% legal, 100% wrong, and it happens every day in plain sight and no one says anything about it.

Help the Philippines make it’s own high tech stealth jet , ship design, on shore land base anti ship missile base, missile defense and help them manufacture it locally for it’s country’s defense. It will save us (USA) billions if not trillions of dollars in defense cost.

And now they found a crack on an engine blade; both of them does not concern me much. If that was the only problems to be faced by the f-35 then it would be on full production already.

I am far more concerned by its limited internal payload, its reduced performance, its high operational cost„ its lack of weight margin –when you got to remove a safety valve to save a few pounds and it make it 25% more vulnerable to explosion that doesn’t sound good to me.

What a waste of engineering effort; I know it’s good for the economy. :/

Jet Fuel as lubricant? Nope this is a disaster waiting to happen. Did you also know Lockheed bought the SVTOL design data from YAK a Russian aircraft builder…WTH??? Where they the ones that gave us the Jet Fuel for lubricant idea?

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