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F-35 soars again  (Source: Lockheed)
GE Aviation sees hopes of second engine for F-35 dashed

The F-35 Lightning II is one of the most expensive weapons program ever and has been plagued with cost overruns and delays since it launched. New details on the generator failure that caused an emergency landing and the subsequent grounding of the F-35 fleet have been unveiled.

Defense News reports that the generator failure that affected test aircraft AF-4 has been determined to be the result of an improper maintenance technique that goes along with a new generator layout in some of the newer F-35 fighters. Once the problem was traced to the new generator layout in newer aircraft, the F-35s using the older generator layout were cleared to resume flight operations.

The earlier aircraft that resumed flight operations included three F-35As and four F-35Bs. Defense News reports that the maintenance procedure has now been revised and that the full fleet of F-35s are now back to operation.  The aircraft with the older generator layout resumed flights on March 14. The cause of the generator failure in the test aircraft was traced back to an excess of oil inside the generator.

The excess oil circulation inside the generator after maintenance caused the generator to overheat and fail. Lockheed claims that the loss of flight time has not impacted the test flight schedule. The F-35 program is still ahead of its flight schedule for the month.

The F-35's have taken back to the air, but AMD Online reports that the second power plant for the F-35 has officially been killed. We reported in February that the House was set to vote on the bill to kill the second engine.

The stop work order was announced last Thursday. GE Aviation in Ohio was developing the second engine.

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RE: About time...
By mmatis on 3/28/2011 8:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
The second engine would have enabled at least PART of the F35 fleet to keep flying in the event of an engine problem with ONE of the two powerplants. With this decision, ANY significant problem with the ONE remaining source GROUNDS THE ENTIRE FLEET. And engine problems are more common, and harder to solve, than hydraulics or airframe or avionics problems. Hell, the whole reason for United Launch Alliance is to give the US assured capability to launch satellites if ONE of the two EELVs (Delta IV and Atlas V) gets grounded. But what the hell. We don't really need a fighter jet anyway. We'll just use lightsabers to gain air supremacy.

RE: About time...
By sorry dog on 3/28/2011 11:32:19 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry Dog, but do you really think that? B-2A - 60,000lb payload F-35C - 3000lb internally + 15000lb externally For them to retain their limited stealth, you would need 20 F-35C's for each B-2A that you wanted to supplant and they would be limited to 6 500lb bombs.

Yes, I really think so. The B-2 flies from an air conditioned hanger in Missouri while the F35 would likely come from a much more logistically friendly once the B2 has entered the target area the flight of F35's delivered their ordinance 4 hours ago and are back at base...and then the B2 probably needs 300 maintenance hours and RAM repair since it just did a 24 hour flight...and there's only 20 of those hanging around so any substitution of the workload for lower hour airframes would be a good thing. The F-117's which also carried 2 2k pounders didn't seem to suffer from a shortage of targets and doubt the F35 will either.

As for the GE engine, another engine would increase supply chain complexity by at least a factor of 4 and if engine development problems are so common then you would have doubled the chance that at least part of the fleet would be grounded at some point. And to this point the engine has been one of the brighter spots of the F35 development.

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