F-35 Jet Deliveries Were Paused for Fix to Avert Fuel Explosions (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg News; published June 24, 2020)
By Anthony Capaccio
Lockheed Martin Corp. halted deliveries of its F-35 jets to the U.S. Air Force for much of this month because of a flaw in a system used to prevent explosions if fuel tanks are hit.

Flaws in tubing used to circulate inert gas into fuel tanks to prevent explosions were found in 14 of 24 Air Force models of the fighter jet inspected, the Pentagon’s F-35 program office said in a previously undisclosed June 5 memo that highlighted the halt in deliveries.

But Lockheed said Wednesday that it resumed deliveries, with two of the fighter jets provided on Tuesday. It recommended that flights be restricted “within 25 miles of lightning or thunderstorms” as a safety precaution while the contractor works with the Defense Department’s F-35 program office on a corrective plan. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg website.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The problem with the F-35’s fuel tank is well known. As we reported at the time, Lt Gen. Christopher Bogdan, then head of the F-35 Joint Program Office, told the House Armed Services Committee during an April 16, 2015 hearing that “We had a problem with lightning…..We were having a problem qualifying the airplane to fly in lightning, (but) that problem is basically behind us.”
But that was not true.
In fact, the promised fix had not been implemented in 2015, and had still not been implemented in 2017, when we reported that two Royal Australian Air Force F-35s were grounded by the risk of thunderstorms.
That March 2017 story is available here.)


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