F-35s Grounded After Another Technical Difficulty
August 4, 2011 7:27 AM
(Source: Lockheed Martin)
The F-35 has suffered yet another technical failure, with another air-fleet temporarily grounded
The U.S. military and Lockheed Martin have grounded their F-35 fleet and launched an internal investigation into the matter, after a test flight at Edwards Air Force Base led to a power failure.
The Pentagon's F-35 Joint Program Office noted this was a precautionary move, with an unknown date on when the temporary suspension will be lifted.
Pentagon spokespeople confirmed all 20 F-35 aircraft will remain grounded until a more permanent solution can be made. The issue was expressively found inside the F-35's Integrated Power Package, which is responsible for starting the aircraft's engine.
"Once the facts are understood, a
determination will be made
when to lift the suspension and begin ground and flight operations," according to the JPO.
Since October 2010, there have been issues with the entire F-35 fleet being grounded at least three times for safety and mechanical issues.
The F-35 was grounded after a previous software glitch, along with previous electrical issues that have occasionally popped up along development lines. US lawmakers continue to grow tired of waiting for Lockheed Martin to push F-35 production while also increasing the price tag of the overall project.
It wasn't too long ago when the Pentagon pushed
for added F-35 costs
, even though the request seemed unlikely. In spite of the technological advantage of the current F-35 over other military aircraft, there have been recent grumblings related to the actual effectiveness of such air superiority. Even so, the first F-35 production jets
were recently delivered
at Eglin Air Force Base, which created excitement in the region.
Over the next 20 years, almost 2,500 models will be purchased by the United States -- for at least $382 billion -- while eight partner countries want to purchase an additional 750 F-35 aircraft. It's possible added orders could be placed
The longevity of the Lockheed F-35 program will depend on how quickly the US contractor is able to fix these continued problems. Partner nations can choose from Boeing, Russian-made aircraft, and a Eurofighter developed by several different nations, if Lockheed Martin continues to struggle.
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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