Software issue could have cause engine stall  (Source: Defense News)
F-35B STOVL version also has hinge issue preventing STOVL operations

The Lockheed Martin F-35 program has been plagued by cost overruns, and issues with software/systems on some variants. The program has hit another setback with flight-testing for the entire F-35 fleet being grounded after a fuel flow issue was noted in lab testing.

The Pentagon announced the F-35 fleet was grounded on October 1 according to
Defense News. The main issue for all variants of the F-35 that lead to the grounding was a software issue with the three fuel flow boost pumps that are used in flight. The software problems caused incorrect sequencing of the boost pumps and was discovered in lab testing.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said, "This could have possibly triggered a shutdown on the three boost pumps, which could potentially cause an engine stall [if left uncorrected]." Irwin stated that the worst-case scenario of engine stall was highly unlikely but "prudence dictated a suspension of operations, temporarily, until the fuel boost pump signal timing was corrected."

Another issues has caused F-35B testing to be prohibited from testing in STOVL mode due to an issue with the auxiliary inlet door hinge on test aircraft BF-1. The issue with the aircraft was noticed on post flight inspection according to spokesman John Kent form Lockheed Martin. The auxiliary inlet doors open to provide additional air to the F-35B in STOVL operations.

Flight operations in STOVL mode will resume once the issue has been identified and corrected. Flight testing for the fleet is set to resume on October 5, Lockheed Martin engineers reportedly have software to fix the pump-sequencing ready and are performing tests on the software to ensure correct operation.

The F-35B STOVL fighter had previous delays due to subsystem component failures. The parts that were failing at higher than expected rates before including door actuators, valves, switches, and cooling fans.

The DoD and Lockheed recently agreed to 32 F-35 fighters to be included in the LRIP-4 purchase.

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