WASHINGTON DC --- The concurrency curse has struck the Lockheed Martin F-35 again, this time during lightning protection qualification, when it was discovered the jet’s fuel tanks could over-pressurise “beyond design limits” in certain flight profiles.
With 154 aircraft delivered to date, and another year of testing remaining, the concurrent development and fielding of aircraft has dogged the F-35 programme since its inception, with major discoveries often leading to delays and expensive fixes or workarounds.
The “low-risk potential” that air in the fuel system could over-pressurise an F-35’s fuel tanks, was identified in late 2014 during lightning protection qualification, and was confirmed again in follow-on tests last year, a spokesman for the Joint Programme Office (JPO) tells Flightglobal.
The design flaw impacts all three F-35 variants operated by the US service and international buyers, and led to “precautionary flight limits” into 2015.
Last December, the programme successfully flight-tested new pressure relief valves that would remove those flight restrictions. Modification work is to begin immediately on 41 A-model aircraft, under a $28.8 million contract with Lockheed announced on 12 January. The deal includes conventional take-off and landing aircraft already delivered to Australia, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the FlightGlobal website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, the F-35 is found to have a serious design flaw that, once again, were kept hidden from the public for over a year.
Once again, the Pentagon awards a contract for a redesign and retrofit of a fix; and once again Lockheed-Martin wins “a cost-plus-fixed-fee” contract to implement the fix.
So the customers pay twice for a faulty product and for its fix, while Lockheed is paid a fee to fix a fault on top of the money it was paid for the original article.
If the Pentagon and Lockheed see no problem in doing business this way, it is surprising that Congress has nothing to say on what some would call institutionalized theft, if not racketeering.)