The problem-plagued F-35 JSF program has been
dealt another setback with an in-flight failure of the power generator and an
oil leak on the same aircraft during the flight. The pilot of the aircraft
dubbed AF-4 was able to safely land the aircraft.
that the entire fleet of ten F-35
aircraft has been grounded pending an investigation into what caused the leak and
power generator failure during the test flight. The aircraft was flying out of
Edwards Air Force Base in southern California at the time of the incident
according to Lockheed spokesman John Kent.
that the F-35 fleet was grounded as a routine precaution. Kent said, "Once
the cause is known, the appropriate repairs and improvements will be made
before flight operations resume."
Flightglobal.com reports that this
is the second grounding of the F-35 fleet in only six months. The last
grounding of the fleet was due
to a software issue that was discovered in simulations. The glitch could
have forced the fuel pump to shut down at altitudes in excess of 10,000 feet.
This is the first in-flight problem with the
conventional take off and landing version of the F-35 that will be flown by the
The generator has been an issue with the
carrier-based version of the F-35 in the past with the acknowledgement in 2007
by Lockheed that the generator was sized to provide only 65% of the power
requirement of the F-35C. The first production F-35C
had its maiden flight in February.
Other systems of the F-35 have also had
problems. One of the most notable is the F-35
helmet that has issues with video feeds lagging among other things.