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News: F-35B reliability worries

Published 2 September 2010, 13:42

Lockheed Martin image

The reliability of Lockheed Martin’s F-35B is causing concern.

September 2: Flightglobal reports that worries over the reliability of Lockheed Martin’s F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) model may push back the test programme again.

The report says that Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Robert Stevens says recent efforts to improve the reliability of the F-35B “has fallen short of expectations” with problems found in the aircraft’s thermal cooling fans, door actuators and power system switches. "I'm quite sure we're going to see a re-phasing of the STOVL flight-test programme to recognise actual performance to date," he said to reporters.

It would seem that the F-35B test programme has failed to keep pace with reduced targets set earlier this year due to a big shortfall in test hours last year. Originally 1,200 flight tests were required across the entire F-35 programme in 2010, but this has been reduced to just 394.

Meanwhile Lockheed Martin has produced a 2010 second quarter video update for the programme, which can be seen below.

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