Joint Strike Fighter Jets
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued May 24, 2012)
The Daily Mirror has reported that there is a risk that the new Joint Strike Fighter jets set to fly from the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers may melt the ships' decks when they land.

It claims the MOD is seeking help from the Americans to develop a new 'super-tough, heat-resistant deck-coating'. The paper also suggests that this issue is a further setback for the programme following the decision not to go ahead with fitting the carriers with catapults and arrestor gear ('cats and traps') technology.

The MOD will save £2bn by not fitting 'cats and traps' and this will greatly offset the relatively small cost of deck paint. Deck-coating was always part of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant ship specification.

Work to identify a suitable deck-coating is ongoing with our American partners in this project, so exact costs are not yet available.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is not a new problem. However, it is worth noting that the Daily Mirror report mentions “melting decks,” while MoD’s response refers to “deck paint.”Hardly reassuring.) (ends)

£500m Jump Jets May Melt the Decks of Aircraft Carriers
(Source: The Daily Mirror; published May 24, 2012)
NEW Harrier-style jump jets set to fly from Navy aircraft carriers could melt their decks, US trials show.

Tests found the fumes which blast out of the £500million Joint Strike Fighters when they land damage the ships’ decks.

Now the UK will have to go cap in hand to the Americans, who are developing a new super-tough, heat resistant deck coating to deal with the problem.

The flaw is the latest problem to hit the Ministry of Defence’s shambolic plan for two aircraft carriers, costing £6.2billion.

David Cameron intervened to cancel the Harrier-style jets that can land and take off vertically.But he was forced to make a U-turn after adapting the carriers with “catapult and trap” technology for normal Joint Strike Fighters proved too costly.

The blunder cost Britain £250million.

An MoD spokesman said: “the cost of deck paint was relatively small”.

The UK will be without aircraft carrier cover for a decade after the Harriers were sold and Ark Royal scrapped in 2010.The new carriers will carry 12 jump-jets from 2020.

Shadow Defence ministerKevan Jones said: “Only this Government could melt aircraft carriers.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first official acknowledgement that the F-35’s very hot exhausts can damage carrier decks, which has been previously reported.)


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