Never mind the FAA grounding 100% of Boeing 787’s last night.
Pentagon reports major defects in all F-35 variants
The Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation asserted that
all three variants of the JSF contained major flaws. In a report submitted
to Congress, Defense Undersecretary Michael Gilmore said the F-35 was being
hampered by design and production defects that emerged in 2012.
An F-35A fighter plane arrives at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. /Lockheed Martin
“The lag in accomplishing the intended 2012 flight testing content
defers testing to following years, and in the meantime, will contribute to the program delivering less capability in production aircraft in the near term,” the report said.
The report, slated for release on Jan. 15, was submitted to Congress
amid the refusal by NATO members to order JSF. On Jan. 11, Turkey announced that it was delaying plans to procure its first two F-35As. So far, Israel, whose procurement of 19 aircraft was financed by Washington, has been the only foreign client that followed through on its initial order.
The Pentagon report said the F-35 was found to be vulnerable to an
outbreak of fire. Gilmore said the removal of protection systems from JSF in 2008 increased vulnerability to a Polyalphaolefin, or PAO, blaze by 25 percent.
“The program’s most recent vulnerability assessment showed that the
removal of fueldraulic fuses, the PAO shutoff valve, and the dry bay fire
suppression, also removed in 2008, results in the F-35 not meeting the
Operational Requirements Document requirement to have a vulnerability
posture better than analogous legacy aircraft,” the 17-page report, titled
“FY2012 Operational Test & Evaluation,” said.
The report cited a halt in testing of the F-35B short-takeoff and
vertical landing variant, sought by the U.S. Marine Corps. The Pentagon said
the tests were suspended in December 2012 when multiple cracks were found on
the underside of the fuselage. Other F-35 were said to have developed cracks
in their wings.
Other tests were canceled in 2012 because of aircraft limitations that
prevented the extended use of the afterburner. Other factors included higher
than expected loads on weapon bay doors and deficiencies in the
There’s plenty more
Oh and because of that:
As delays plague F-35, Lockheed Martin maintains F-16 production
Production of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 combat aircraft will likely continue at least until 2016 because of ongoing technical problems and delays associated with the much-anticipated fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter F-35.
As a result, the demand for the F-16 has spiked.
In December, Lockheed Martin’s then-chief executive, Robert Stevens, said that if the trend continued, demand for the F-16 would keep assembly lines busy into 2016. At that time, the F-35’s problems would presumably be solved and worldwide sales begin.
Since 1975, more than 4,500 F-16s have been sold to 26 countries.
A major boost for the current demand for the F-16s came from Taiwan. In 2011, President Barack Obama declined to sell Taiwan 60 of the newer F-16 C/D aircraft in order to appease Mainland China. Instead, the Obama administration decided to upgrade Taiwan’s existing fleet of 145 F-16A/Bs.
But Taiwan is still pushing for the newer model F-16s and there are increasingly more members of Congress sympathetic to Taiwan’s request.
Currently, F-16s are being manufactured for Egypt, Jordan and other Mideast countries. In December 2012, Obama told Congress that he was willing to sell 18 F-16s to Iraq.
The F-16 was designed beginning int he late 50’s, entered prototype and test in the late 60’s, and production began in the 70’s. This is 2013.
Between 1939 and 1945 the USA produced 5 new fighter types from Republic aviation, 4 from Grumman, 2 from Lockheed, 3 from North American, and at LEAST one from Vought (not even counting variants which were not selected for the Air Force and Navy and Marines Since the F-15 and F-16 in the mid 70’s, we have produced the F-22 (186 active) and the F-35 which, as you see above, well….
The list of Soviet, then Russian, Chinese, and Chinese-Pakistani (yes, that’s right) fighter development is incredible next to this. I’ll do it some other time.
Next, we’ll take a look at Naval development..
These things are happening because the system now denies the rewards to individual achievement. This is just ONE area. Real invention, engineering and production …