backtop


Print 24 comment(s) - last by Ammohunt.. on Jan 19 at 1:54 PM


F-35B Vertical landing  (Source: DefenseNews)
Five landings are the first of 42 needed to move to at-sea trials

Of all the F-35 Lightning II variants currently in testing, the most troubled has been the F-35B STOVL fighter. The aircraft has had recurring issues with sub-components that are failing at higher than expected rates leading to problems and delays in the flight program.

The F-35B fighter was also dealt a blow when the program was recently put on a 2-year probationary period. Lockheed is still hard at work on the F-35B and the aircraft has shown some progress recently. Defense News reports that the aircraft has had a series of five vertical landings over the last eight days that have come off without a hitch.

The vertical landing tests were performed between January 6 and 13. The five successful landings are part of the 42 that must be completed before the aircraft can be tested at sea on an amphibious assault ship. When the remaining tests will happen is unknown; so far the 2011 flight test schedule has not been published.

"I think it does [signal that the program is getting back on track]. This program has never been quite as troubled as many critics thought. I think it's probably progressed more smoothly than other fighter development program with the possible exception of the F-16," said Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute (Arlington, Virginia). The F-16's development proceeded so smoothly because of the simple nature of the original version of that aircraft, he said.

Thompson also notes that the issues the F-35 has faced so far are common teething problems that can be found in new aircraft programs. By comparison, the issues that the F-22 Raptor faced were much worse.

Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia said that the challenges left in the F-35B program can be addressed in the 2-year probationary period.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Still needed?
By mac2j on 1/18/2011 8:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
With a carrier group waiting offshore - probably not.

But being first on the scene these could be very valuable - you can carry and land F-35Bs on/in much smaller and faster ships than a carrier so that they are available from the time marines establish a beach-head to provide close air support, prevent enemy close air support or overflight reconnaisance, and possibly interdict enemy anti-ship operations as more naval forces enter the area.

Also part of the original plan was to sell them to other countries with "mini-carriers" that require STOVL aircraft and even though Britain backed out that still leaves a few others like France and Thailand (and India?) I believe


"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki