F-35 returns to flying status

F-35 returns to flying status

Pentagon officials ended the six day grounding of the F-35 Thursday evening following the completion of an investigation into a broken engine fan blade on one of the aircraft.

The investigation done by the F-35 program office and Pratt & Whitney, makers of the F-35 engine, found the crack was caused by “prolonged exposure to high levels of heat and other operational stressors,” said Kyra Hawn, the Joint Strike Fighter program spokeswoman, in a statement.

Inspectors and engineers didn’t find any additional cracks in the engine of the aircraft in question or the rest of F-35s being tested, program officials said.

“The engine in question is part of the F-35 test aircraft fleet and had been operated for extended time in the high-temperature environment in its mission to expand the F-35 flight envelope,” Hawn said in a statement.

Seventeen test aircraft and 34 operational aircraft make up the F-35 fleet that includes three versions and stretches across the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Tests on the Pratt & Whitney F135 will continue as the F-35 returns to flying status, Hawn said.

Earlier in the week, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, F-35 program chief, publicly slammed both Pratt & Whitney and the industry lead on the Joint Strike Fighter, Lockheed Martin. He criticized their decision making and their lack of urgency to pursue cost controls over the life of the program.

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Hopefully the decision was based on objective analysis of the data and not just yielding to political pressure. The speed of the decision is suspicious and the explanation of why the failure happened (provided to the press) seems a bit contrived.

Now if they could just fix the tailhook, the performance, the weight margin, the software schedule, the growth capacity, the smoke in the cabin, the extremely limited internal carriage, the lack of range for the PACOM AOR, the wing drop, the unaffordable acquisition cost, the unaffordable O&S costs, the never ending SDD, the bulkhead cracks etc., everything would be great.

It looks like Australia is seriously considering a purchase of 12 more Super Hornets and 12 more Growlers. The Pentagon just approved a sale to Australia. All that’s needed is an official statement from Australia and some paperwork.

Link: http://​www​.stltoday​.com/​b​u​s​i​n​e​s​s​/​l​o​c​a​l​/​p​e​n​t​a​g​o​n-a

Also, Canada’s CBC News delved into the costs of the Super Hornet in relation to the F-35A and found that it costs only half as much. This is a Canadian source doing this and right now it looks like there are a lot of people in Canada that really want to purchase the Super Hornet, seeing as how it is a much better deal.

Link: http://​www​.cbc​.ca/​n​e​w​s​/​p​o​l​i​t​i​c​s​/​s​t​o​r​y​/​2​0​1​3​/​0​2​/​27/

In fact, here’s a video on their youtube channel that goes further into their findings: http://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​V​R​8​w​x​Q​r​J​w​V​M​&​a​m​p​;li

Its the height of hypocrisy to ground a plane due to a single crack in a Super high performance turbine blade. It is only due to a complete lack of opponent and even war on the horizon that we have the luxury to whine and complain about such a typical failure. Fan blade failure is common and designed for.

Peace, gotta love it. We have the luxury to ground a plane over a routine failure.

So…It turns out that the unnamed Pratt and Whitney engineer who said that he was 99% sure the problem was minor and that the planes would be back to flying status next week was right. And General Bogdan who took this opportunity to question the engineers (for political reasons, I assume) was wrong. Imagine that.

The only reason I can imagine for publically ragging on LM was to convince our International Partners that we (USAF) are pushing the contractors hard, to make sure they (IP) get their money’s worth. IP forces are paying for part of this program, and will be buying many of the planes, but have no direct control over the development or production of the end product. And with F-35 problems in the news all the time, I’m sure they are not comfortable. Perhaps this public display of discord is intended to convince the IP audience that they are not being taken to the cleaners?

More propping up of a dysfunctional and bad plane. We could have had all the F-16s and F-18s in USAF and Navy replaced with F-22s with the waste of testing the F-35 has brought. Over bet in another few months there will be more groundings.

I was under the impression that the best mix was to have sufficient quantities of both the F-22A and the F-35A and have them working together replacing the F-15 and the F-16 mix.

A very ” Interesting Article about the F-35 using it’s After-burner which will surly be need to Escape since the JSF can’t even turn as well as an old F-4 or F-5.
.“The F-35’s Afterburning Engine Can’t Stand Heat”.
. http://​www​.defense​-aerospace​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​-​v​i​e​w​/fe

That is not an article you linked to.

It’s an op-ed and a poorly crafted one at that. Taking flight limitations out of context and using them as ammuntion for a hit piece is not what makes up an article. Its what makes an opinion and it is an obviously uninformed one to boot.

>Now if they could just fix the tailhook, the performance, the weight margin, the software schedule, the growth capacity, the smoke in the cabin, the extremely limited internal carriage, the lack of range for the PACOM AOR, the wing drop, the unaffordable acquisition cost, the unaffordable O&S costs, the never ending SDD, the bulkhead cracks etc., everything would be great.

The thing would still be a lemon that turned like a bus and accelerated like a whale.

No if you have a new plane and there are cracks then there is something wrong with the design or manufacturing. P&W has confirmed its not a manufacturing problem.

>Taking flight limitations out of context

In what context does not being able to split S qualify as acceptable ?

Haters gonna hate. BTW, how are things over at Boeing these day? Got that 787 sorted out?

Losers gonna want the F35

How is Lockheeds commercial aviation division going these days LOL

I don’t know about the other things, but you can consider that tailhook thing fixed. All it took was a small redesign of the hook’s shape.

5 of 8 successful roll in traps is not a problem solved — yet.

It is for the F-35 — they will just lower the trap rate spec and say it’s fixed. Thats how they “fix” everything else.

F35 = Air Dominance.

Why because you saw it in a couple of Hollywood films and it looks ‘cool’? The F-35 is the complete opposite of air dominance.

Maybe it was only a scratch on the blade and not a crack. I agree that the release of the fleet is rather sudden considering whayt type of testing really needs occur to discount both a manufacturing defect and a HCF type failure. I guess we wil wait and see.

De-lamination of the crystal boundary is not a scratch the blade is coming apart.

ROTFLMAO! Its amazing how all of the self-declared experts, vultures and other bottom feeders tend to circle in on any possible REAL issue, be it the 787 battery issues or the F-35 LPT blade crack. Unfortunately, some of us are old enough to remember the early days of the F-15, F-16, A-10 and F/A-18. All of these had their share of problems. Remember when F-16s had to keep their “drag chute” and the P/W F-100 was prone to “stall/stagnations”? What about the aero issues that led to the F/A-18 getting that LEX? What about gun gas ingestion and the un-inspectable cable tray under the bathtub on the A-10? When you build a new airplane, even one that is clearly “evolutionary” not revolutionary, you WILL find some technical problems when Mother Nature decides its time to trim the egos of the designers. These are REAL problems that demand,and should get, REAL engineering solutions. Real engineering problems can be dealt with and should be expected. The problems that I would offer you that need some discussing are not the ones that the engineers can fix, but the ones that the politicians in sheep’s clothing, aka, the powerpoint princes, have pawned off on their successors during these program’s early development cycle. Fix those, and let the engineers fix these more tangible issues.

Then, and only then, will the pundits, experts, and carrion eaters from 30 years hence have a chance to hold up the F-35 and B-787 as examples of fine serviceable aircraft when their successors run into issues.

The difference is none of those planes CONSTITUTED THEN ENTIRE NEXT GENERATION OF THE USN, USAF, AND USMC, AVIATION! They also weren’t the most expensive defense program in HUMAN HISTORY. Oh yes all were different so if one failed the others werent slaves to it. OH my bad and the others also represent a great upgrade in ability and firepower for the services. The F-35 excepting the B model is none of these.

Oh wait one more thing. The B and C models are both going to be more than $200,000,000.00 per plane acorrding to the CBO and other groups. Not the 130 they promise. Basicly the a group of 5 planes cost as much as a current DDG-51.

I think his point is that if the Cold War was still happening and we had a very real threat with a very real possibility of a world war on the horizon there’s no way we would tolerate the failings of this program. Instead what’s happening is that there isn’t a threat (or enough of a threat around, the Chinese as they are certainly don’t count) we’re letting defense contractors turn it into a very unproductive jobs program and the government is wasting billions on it.

Since when does an engine that breaks apart upon going into afterburner count as a ” flight limitations out of context?” You can put the Super Hornet engines on full blast afterburner and they’ll take the heat even till the jet runs out of fuel. I don’t know about the Raptor engines. This is obscenely disgusting how much political protection is put around the F-35 to protect it from the budget axe. This is not worth our tax payers dollars that we could put in better places to help repair the economy.

Your post is only 7 minutes old and you’ve already +1’d yourself once?

Self promotion is better than none at all I suppose.

The F119-PW-100 used by the F-22, and the F100-PW-229 which uses some of the technology developed for the F119 have both been successes. The F135 is also somewhat based off the F119 design. A cracked blade doesn’t mean the engine’s design is flawed, nor does it mean that the F-35 is doomed or that we need the F136.

And staying with old F-16s and F/A-18s is better?

Yes, it is actually.

No other program could have survived the difficulties and cost explosions that this one has experienced without the political wall built around it. The engine is only one of several extremely pressing issues.

IntenseDebate automatically 1’s a person’s own posts. As you can see.….….….….….….…..^

It may be some design compromise because the –35 has hit its weight limit?

In the Cold War we had multiple vendors and the competition would go on a little longer. Whoever falls behind the most loses the contract.

Great Lockheed Martin talking points. We won’t know (at this rate) until we see real ship ops. Until then, the problem is not “fixed”.

a pig is a pig…no getting around it…sequester the F-35 and get on with something that really works…15’s, 16’s and 18’s are proven tech that works, the 35 does not now work and will only (if ever) work with much more $$$$$$…another F-111 type failure…don’t ask generals, ask the worker-bees what works!!!

The F-35 program will be truncated I hope.

I wonder if this might have something to do with the engine problem, from today’s “Wall Street Journal” — ” Pratt & Whitney unit disclosed it has broken up an alleged
fraudulent-testing scheme by a sister United Technologies unit,
affecting tens of thousands of engine parts used on popular business
jets and turboprop aircraft flown by airlines around the world”:..
Was it only Business jets or ???

also covered in. Defense-Aerospace

We’ll never be able to expose these $200 M aircraft (just like the 1.2 billion dollar destroyers) to hostile fire — they’re too expensive and too few. Just like the German battle fleet in WW1. Can’t put to sea, the English might sink our ships! Stupid or criminal.

I wonder what it would take to get Northrop-Grumman back into the fighter making business. At one point they were responsible for the designs of the F-14 and YF-23. Having only two major fighter makers is too faulty a system, especially if one of them gets too many contracts based on promises it can’t deliver.

In the same series: http://​www​.theglobeandmail​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​p​o​l​i​t​i​c​s​/​f​-35

Now we have progressed to all made excuse to back-off.

A revised antitrust law maybe? Even Microsoft escaped antitrust law, I am not sure the axe is sharp enough for the job.

For the Russians and Chinese when they have 5th generation fighters in production and we don’t. Even your theoretically Block III Super Hornet will be outclassed within a decade of its introduction. That is not acceptable.

You want engine problems? Look at what the F-14 dealt with. The early F100s in the F-15s had teething problems too, worse than this for sure.

Northrop Grumman is still in the business and they are doing some of the work on the F-35.

They do pitch their designs for fighter programs, but the last fighter program that occurred was JAST/JSF. There have not been any opportunities for a new fighter design other than the F-35 due to a lack of funding and will. Hence the only alternatives to the F-35 being band-aid short-term solutions based on existing aircraft.

You may not like the F-35 but we need something new and more capable. Building the same old stuff won’t cut it. The only serious alternative to the entire F-35 program would be two or three new fighter programs. Plus likely some other measures like restarting F-22 production.


Yes we need something new and more capable. Building the same old stuff and restarting the F-22 production will cut it on the modern battlefield.

Lockheed cant be trusted, no new programs or restarts should involve Lockheed or any of its suppliers.
These people need to learn the crime doesn’t pay.

The Russians won’t be able to make the PAK-FA in enough numbers to matter. Their goal is only 100 fighters, which isn’t good enough for anything other than homeland defense. I think the Chinese have more to fear from the PAK-FA than we do right now.

The Chinese J-20 is way far out. It might come online in 2025 if the Chinese are lucky. The J-31 is even farther out. Also let’s not forget that both the fighters are mostly cheap knockoffs that will not have the same technology as their original designs (the MiG-1.44 and the F-35). On top of that counter-stealth technology is advancing at an incredible rate and our Aegis radars and AESA radars seem to be pretty good at finding and tracking objects with a small RCS. On top of that the new IRST sensors that are coming out can find aircraft at ridiculous ranges (around 50 miles right now). I seriously doubt stealth will give them much of an advantage against our current set up right now.

Apart from that let’s not forget that war with China in the near future is most likely never going to happen. It would destroy both our economies and they know it just as well as we do. Being able to militarily defeat China is of no significant importance if we have a weaker economy. It’s important to keep the long term goals in perspective and the F-35 costs too much to fit into our strategy.

In terms of capability the Super Hornet Block III is just as capable as the F-35 WAS MEANT TO BE and even better than it in most areas. It has low observable stealth incorporated into its design, but it was made to be survivable, reliable, cheap, and effective. It succeeds in all of these and with IRST sensors, AGM-88 type missiles, and the best pilots in the world it will easily be able to destroy any enemy IADS combination as well as hold its own against 5th gen fighters. We already have all of the things it needs and integrating them would be cheap as dirt. The F-35 is an expensive waste of dollars by comparison.

I wish they had just agreed to use as many common sub-systems as possible, but had the three primary contractors take lead on a different model. But it’s too late now, and we have JSF.

Do you honestly think Lockheed-Martin is all that different from Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, or any of the European fighter manufacturers?

Shouldn’t involve Lockheed or any of it’s suppliers? Those companies that supply Lockheed tend to supply everybody else you fool. That’s the way the industry works.

You got a point…but clearly not like dassault aviation. Still governed by a Dassault. Result: they are doing engineering wonder considering the lack of funding.

Eurofighter consortium does not run the same business model either. Any country beside Israel that receied the source code of the f-35? And the promised technological transfer? I really don’t like lockheed way of treating foreign countries, but that may change a bit considering that with sequestration it seems that lockheed is relying more on its international “partner” than before.

>Those companies that supply Lockheed tend to supply everybody else you fool. That’s the way the industry works.

I can’t argue about that. That’s precisely why I think it was a mistake not have blocked the consolidation of defense business. Not that the company itself is evil, but it’s bad for the competition. At this point a sort of antitrust law ought to be considered before the next standard oil became the only defence contractor available.

I clearly prefer the tone from this memo –taken from a freshly released TIMES article– than the Lockheed PR statement as accurate as an AI-based corporate bullshit generator laying on my computer (i.e. we are still ahead of schedule).

The memo: http://​pogoarchives​.org/​s​t​r​a​u​s​/​o​t​e​-​i​n​f​o​-​m​e​m​o​-​2​013

The article: http://​nation​.time​.com/​2​0​1​3​/​0​3​/​0​6​/​m​o​r​e​-​f​-​3​5​-​t​u​rbu

THERE, Steve, is the real problem with the F-35, not the LPT fan blade crack or the radar, or the software, or any of the engineering problems. The most advanced, sophisticated and “sexy” weapon system in the world that is not able, for whatever reason even if only in our own perception, to perform its mission is pretty much a waste of time. The Bismark was without a doubt the most “awesome” battleship of its day but… running against the Royal Navy, equipped largely with battleships from the last war and a few wood and fabric Swordfish, well we know the story. Similarly the German Tiger was the ultimate weapon for mechanized land warfare, until the 1000 or so that could be built ran into the 50,000 Shermans and a similar number of Russian T-34s! Or the 1400 technically superior Me-262s vs the tens of thousands of P51, P-47,P38, Hurricane and Hawker fighters! So, instead of learning from the lessons of our last global war, we choose to adopt the strategic industrial-military philosophy of Nazi Germany, and.… they lost!

Nice one Michael, I just downloaded it, will be bookmarking for Future Reference.

A quick review is at Defense News, with quotes like“All four pilots commented that there was poor visibility from the cockpit, which appears to be the result of design flaws. One pilot said he had difficulty seeing other aircraft due to the location of the canopy bow, while others identified the lack of rear visibility as a major, potentially deadly, flaw.

“The head rest is too large and will impede aft visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” commented one pilot quoted in the report. “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned every time.”

“The majority of responses cited poor visibility; the ejection seat headrest and the canopy bow were identified as causal factors. ‘High glare shield’ and the HMD cable were also cited as sources of the problem,” reads the report.

Most worrisome for JSF supporters is this conclusion: “Of these, only the HMD cable has the potential to be readily redesigned.”
.“For the five unscheduled engine removal and replacements that have occurred in the F-35A fleet, the mean elapsed maintenance time for this task is 52 hours. The ORD threshold is for a maximum crew of four maintainers to remove and install the engine within 120 minutes.”

Ops. Defense News. ” F-35 Report Warns of Visibility Risks, Other Dangers “
. http://​www​.defensenews​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​2​0​1​3​0​3​0​6​/​D​E​FRE

You can thanks Winslow Wheeler for that. The press is working at recycling his story for the next 2–3 days, maybe more. :)

Well, I think we will see how this goes in the long run, but all the “teen” fighters went from contract to IOC in about 7–8 years (5 for the F-14). For the planes you are talking about, the F-35 is way past the “early days”. We are the equivalent of the mid-1980’s for the F-35.

The F35 flaw rate is similar to that of the early stages of the F16 or F18 programs. Bu the F35 isn’t in the design phase it’s in production, the training squadron that is supposed to be training pilots instead spends all it’s time sending in fault reports.

The list of things the training squadron cant do because of a design flaw is quite extraordinary:

Cant fly at night
Cant fly in cold weather
Cant fly in hot weather
Cant fly into clouds
Cant make rapid stick movements
Cant exceed +5G
Range reduced due to poor aerodynamics
range reduced due to excessive weight
Range reduced due to need for extra reserve due to difficulty in carrier landings
Greatly reduced engine life
Cant use full throttle for extended periods
Cant target weapons.
Cant release any weapons.

No wonder the training crews go outside to look at a parked F35 make a few jokes and then spend the whole day on the simulator.

The shills will tell us that given enough money Lockheed can fix everything. The amount of money they need would pay for a new aircraft program and things like very poor wing loading and maneuverability will never be fixed.

Doesn’t matter how much gold paint and perfume they spray on the thing the F35 is underneath a piece of shi_t.

Yea if yo take all the problems of all the development aircraft produced in the 60s 70s and 80s and combine them you get the F35.

But the F35 is in PRODUCTION it’s not an early design.

A fourth generation success will always beat a fifth generation failure.


Yea sure the Mafia thought they were untouchable too.

Funnily its the small fish like WIlliam with their small time mentality that will be the way to break the corruption. The small fish are never brave they always squeal when you squeeze them a little.

A Crack in a fan blade of a turbine engine is the precursor of a catostrophic failure of the engine. If the ingestion of the blade segment does not destroy the engine, the imbalance that will occur due to a missing fan blade will surely cause a extreme engine failure. Hmmm lets see what the result of a engine failure results in of a aircraft with a single engine creates?

The F-35 Is and Will be a Continuous Burden to Our Defense Program. This Plane is 23 years in the making and has had BILLIONS poured into it and has YET to become a Proven Asset. The Price of ONE (1) F-35 can Buy 2.75 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets or E/A-18G Growlers. The F-35 is a SINGLE Engine Plane. The Navy Retired its Last Single Engine Jets 20 Years ago A-7E Corsair II. If you should LOSE Power or Your ONLY Engine, You will need to Ditch and Eject. So much for your $245 Million plane. ANY Twin Engine Jet will get you back to the Carrier on ONE (1) Engine. And at the Cost of only $68 Million for One (1) F/A-18E/F or E/A-18G. Which is the better Bargain. A Proven Platform in its 12th year of Service, (F/A-18E/F) Or a Yet to pass half of the Service Requirements it needs to F-35’s?

The first sentence says it all. The F-35 is not in the “early days”. The development contract for X-35 was awarded in 96 and LM won the JSF contest in 2000/2001. So we are around 17 years into this program. Compare that to the teen fighters. Even if you go with the longest developed (FA-18) timeline, the LWF downselected to two in 72 and YF-17 flew in 74. It was significantly redesigned from a shore based LWF to a carrier light attack strike fighter (FA-18) and still managed to IOC in 83. So, LWF to YF-17 to FA-18 in 11 years, or JSF to F-35 in 17 years and counting.

Yeah, stick it to Lockheed. Cancel the F-35 right before it goes into production. Pay for all the development costs and get nothing. And then who will design your next new fighter? Lockheed. Morons!

Aren’t you the one who would otherwise be arguing that it’s a good racket either way? R&D with engineers versus a production line full of bodies?

If I ran a car company and could make a few billion making only concept cars for the auto show circuit instead of tens of billion in full production, well…

Look at what is actually happening. The defense contractors are making record profits and program after program is being cancelled just as it is going into production. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize the pattern that is emerging. Hell, there are businesses that make several times more than the 10% to 15% profit margin defense contractors get that lose money setting up a new production line.

Sure it promotes my own self interest if you continue to buy weapons R&D and cancel every program right before it goes into production, but then I am not so short sighted as to realize that I am also an American and I am in the same boat as every other American when it comes to the defense of our country. Paper weapons are not going to make this country safer, only real operational weapons will. Keep cancelling these weapons and the Chinese will walk in here and kick our ass before the next decade is over.

Well, the reason we made the F-35 is because the F-22 is far too expensive to replace all of the F-16s and F-18s in the armed forces! $200 million per F-22 is so definitely not affordable. And buying $200 million planes will not help our troubled economy. And yes, you are right, the F-35 is encountering some teething troubles, but a lot of them have been revised. And with a change of management at Lockheed, the program should get back on track. And BTW, the F-35 is a great plane. It is easy to maintain (both pilots and engineers have said this) it is stealthy, and it incorporates a touchscreen, advanced radar (THE RADAR WORKS, DON’T LISTEN TO THE STUPID MEDIA), and the helmet-mounted display. Sure, the helmet has had some problems, but Lockheed has fixed most of them. THE F-35 IS AWESOME THE MEDIA IS JUST EXAGGERATING THE PROBLEMS. The F-35 is a great plane and is encountering the same problems that the F-16 and the F-18 had and don’t worry, Lockheed is capable of fixing them and they will. The F-35 is making great progress, it just has a few problems that need fixing.

This is BS, when F-22 was killed, if I am wrong fine, it was only “locked” by one pilot in a sim air battle
after the active squad engaged multiple F-16 and F-15/F18 air wings and Air Guard all over the country.
One F-16 Major was awarded the F-22 figure in the cross hairs patch. The computer controlled game
awarded the engagement as a double kill. Both plans being destroyed. Now, if that’s the best the standing
air power of the most powerful airforce/aviator squads can do against that air craft, what the hell are we
doing? Make 50 of them and send em where they are needed supported by the best existing powers between
us and our alleys. 11 carriers loaded with f-18s is enough!! who can touch it?


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