The flaw that caused extensive fire damage to an F-35 and serious reputation issues for Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney last year, has been fixed. According to various news reports on Tuesday 7 April, the fix should be implemented into the entire existing F-35 Lightning II fleet by this time next year.
On 23 June 2014, an F-35A sustained major damage when its Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine caught fire at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, while the aircraft was preparing for take off. The incident led to a grounding of the 5th generation fighter aircraft and subsequently, the embarrassing cancellation of its international airshow debut.
The culprit was found earlier in a foam sealant rubbing together inside the F-135 engine, with the friction causing the fire. Pratt & Whitney now says it has redesigned part of the engine, with the design being tested on all test and development aircraft.
The 130 or so F-35s already built, are being retrofitted with the improved design. Most of those aircraft are US Air Force, US Navy and United States Marine Corps F-35s. Others are owned by the Royal Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The 17th Luke Air Force Base F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke AFB on 18 December 2014. (Image © Staff Sgt. Staci Miller / USAF)