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The tailhook is missing the arresting wire and is being redesigned

The ambitious F-35 program is finally moving along at a decent clip after delays that have driven up costs and slowed the project down. A new issue is now being addressed with the carrier based version of the F-35 called the F-35C. In flight testing an issue arose where the hook that grabs the arresting wire on the aircraft is often missing the wire.
 
Lockheed Martin has announced that it has traced the issue with capturing the arresting wire to the design of the tailhook. Lockheed Martin says that efforts to fix the problem are well underway. The good news is that the issue is with the design of the hook itself, not with any of the systems the F-35C.
 
"The good news is that it’s fairly straight forward and isolated to the hook itself,” said Tom Burbage, Lockheed program manager for the F-35 program. “It doesn’t have secondary effects going into the rest of the airplane."
 
The issue being the tailhook design alone means that Lockheed will not have to make more extensive and expensive repairs or changes to the design of the tailhook system having to do with the doors that hide the tailhook for stealth. Lockheed notes that all other tailhook system components are good.
 
“What we are trying to do is make sure that we got the actual design of the hook is optimized so that it in fact repeatedly picks up the wire as long the airplane puts itself in position to do that,” he said.
 
Lockheed, the Naval Air Systems Command and F-35 Joint Program Office have already started the modifications to the tailhook. “We’re modifying the hook to accommodate what we found so far in test,” Burbage said. “The new parts, we expect to have them back in the next couple of months.”
 
Tests of the F-35C with the new tailhook design should begin in Q2 2012. In 2013, the F-35C is slated to start sea landing trials where Lockheed notes, "the real testing begins." Burbage dismissed any claims that the F-35C will be unable to land on a carrier. Part of the issue with the tailhook on the F-35C is that it is much further forward towards the main landing gear than other naval aircraft due to the need to cover the hook for stealth. The first F-35C flew in 2010.
 

Source: DefenseNews





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