F-35 Crash Corrective Measures Must Remain Secret, JPO Says (excerpt)
(Source: Air Force Mag; posted Nov. 23, 2020)
By John A. Tirpak
Action to correct hardware problems that contributed to the crash of an F-35 on May 19 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., must remain secret, the F-35 Joint Program Office said Nov. 23.

“Explicit details related to corrective actions have the potential to compromise operational security,” a JPO spokeswoman said, without elaborating.

Broadly, she said, the JPO participates in accident investigations and identifies “corrective actions and evaluates, prioritizes, and incorporates those actions into aircraft maintenance and production procedures.” She added that “safety of flight remains the highest priority in the adjudication of corrective actions” and said the 585 F-35s in service worldwide have accumulated more than 335,000 safe flying hours.

The F-35 is safe to fly while the JPO determines and implements corrective measures, she said. The JPO declined to comment on whether the government or Lockheed Martin bears the responsibility for the hardware deficiencies, and who will pay to correct them. It is unusual for the government not to reveal corrective measures required when a military aircraft crashes due—even in part—to hardware and software deficiencies.

According to an accident investigation board report released in early October, the F-35 in question crashed mainly because the pilot incorrectly set a “speed hold” that was too high during the landing process.

However, the AIB identified a number of other issues with the F-35, all of which contributed to the crash. Those included a misalignment and “green glow” of the helmet-mounted display, which both caused the mishap pilot to think he was too low on landing and made it difficult for the pilot to see the landscape during the mission, which was conducted at night. (end of excerpt)


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