The U.S. military grounded its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters after a routine engine inspection revealed a cracked turbine blade in an F-35A based at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The precautionary flight suspension was announced on February 22, following an inspection earlier in the week. The grounding affects all three variants of the fighter, for a total of 51 aircraft.
Lockheed Martin X-35
Canada has selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as its next combat aircraft, Peter MacKay, the country’s defense minister, announced last Friday. The $9 billion commitment covers 65 JSFs. The first is due for delivery in 2016 to begin replacement of the CF-18 Hornet fleet. The commitment does not include ongoing training and support, which is estimated at a further $7 billion.
Yesterday’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter briefing turned into a celebration of the recent first flight of the F-35B STOVL version. The three customers for the new-generation jump jet (the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.K. and Italy) lined up to sing its praises. Test pilot Graham Tomlinson from BAE Systems was on hand to describe the maiden flight.
When Lockheed Martin chose a test pilot to take the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) version through development and into the air, the company realized there is no substitute for experience. Therefore, when aircraft F-35BF-1 took to the skies over Texas last month, a 58-year-old British pilot was at the controls.
Pratt & Whitney is preparing five more ground-test engines to support seven units already participating in the F135 engine development and demonstration program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Two of the five will be used to qualify propulsion-system configuration ahead of planned delivery of the first-flight engine to Lockheed Martin by year’s end.
Here at the Paris Air Show yesterday, Stork and Northrop Grumman signed a framework contract worth $150 million for Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter airframe components. If the agreement translates into a firm order, Stork will produce 520 in-flight opening doors for all three types and 110 inner weapons bay doors for the STOVL version during the low-rate initial production phase.
A new set of technology-sharing memoranda of understanding are to be negotiated between the U.S. government and the eight partner nations in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, Aviation International News has learned.