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Reducing the aircraft's weight by 11 pounds has made it more vulnerable

An attempt at cutting the weight of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has made it more vulnerable to lightning and enemy attacks, says a new report.

The report, conducted by the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation office (OT&E), found that shedding a few pounds from Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (also known as Lightning II) has made the aircraft 25 percent more vulnerable in certain dangerous situations.

The Lightning II lost two safety features in 2008, including the PAO shutoff valve and the fueldraulic system. The PAO shutoff valve weighed 2 pounds and the fueldraulic system weighed 9 pounds, bringing the grand total to an 11 pound weight loss.

However, the new report from OT&E suggests that getting rid of the PAO shutoff valve could lead to a rupture below the cockpit and ridding the fueldraulic system increases the chance of a sustained fire if exposed.

Test flights found that the Lightning II cannot be within 25 miles of known lightning conditions due to a poor design of the On-Board Intert Gas Generating System. This feature makes sure there are correct oxygen levels in the fuel tank.

“The program’s most recent vulnerability assessment showed that the removal of fueldraulic fuses, the PAO shutoff valve and the dry bay fire suppression, also removed in 2008, results in the F-35 not meeting the Operational Requirements Document (ORD) requirement to have a vulnerability posture better than analogous legacy aircraft,” officials wrote in the report.

The report also found cracks in the F-35A's right wing and right engine as well as the F-35B's bulkhead flange.

“Lockheed Martin believes the program is demonstrating exceptional stability, certainly significantly greater than any legacy aircraft development program, which is a primary measure for DT&E,” said Laura Siebert, a Lockheed spokeswoman. “Each year, as issues are discovered in test, our flight test team identifies additional test objectives that can be accomplished while we resolve the issues discovered.

“From an Operational Test and Evaluation perspective, we fully expect to deliver a qualified product to OT&E as scheduled. We appreciate the feedback from the OT&E community on what remains to be demonstrated over the next three years leading up to the OT&E phase of the program."

Last March, it was announced that the lifetime cost of the Lightning II is $1.45 trillion.

Source: Defense News

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RE: Boodoggle
By dgingerich on 1/16/2013 12:49:36 PM , Rating: 3
First, I would kind of vouch for the engineers on two matters: the F-35 is meant to fly at much faster speeds, much higher G turns, and much higher altitudes than the P-51, making it much harder to engineer. Also, the 'stealth' materials and design throw in added complexities to make it even harder to engineer.

On the other hand, there are established engineering standards on doing many things, and ways to measure how much stress different components will experience under certain conditions. I don't understand how they have been so far off on so many things with this design, and made so many mistakes. The don't seem to be checking their designs the way they should before building test machines. It's pitiful. The quality of work is much lower than it used to be at the defense contractors.

Apparently, our pinnacle of defense engineering is still the F-14. We'd be better off building more of those than this piece of junk.

Defense design has always been a 'best of the best of engineering' type job in this country. If this is the best work our best engineers can offer these days, we're in dire trouble as a country.

Then again, I've been saying that for the last decade, as soon as I understood what has been oging wrong. We've been in trouble for a long time. The signs have been there, waiting to be seen. Our educational system has been slipping for even longer than I've been in school. Our work ethic as a country has been slipping since before I was born. Our sense of being the best has been left behind for at least a decade. The media continues to push selfishness and mediocre mindsets. We've already slipped from the top. We're just a country of has-beens.

RE: Boodoggle
By Alexvrb on 1/16/2013 11:58:55 PM , Rating: 1
How dare you imply that people should get jobs, be responsible for their own actions, and pay for their own crap! I think the government should take control of every aspect of my life, pay for everything, and tuck me in at night. While we're at it - Roosevelt, you're out. Stuffed bears will now be called 'Bama Bears.

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