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F-35 fighter jet fleet grounded by Pentagon

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posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 05:51 PM

Have Lockheed got some quality control issues here? Between this and the problems with the F-22 Northrop must be rubbing their hands together in glee and waiting to pick up the pieces from tarnished reputation at some point in the future.

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 06:24 PM
At least Canada had the good sense to cancel the order for 65 planes. Although, I don't like to equate Harper with good sense and am not in the least bit suggesting this.

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 06:57 PM
reply to post by neformore

This isn't a Lockheed problem though, this is Pratt & Whitney. Lockheed sells the jets to the Air Force without engines, and then they negotiate a separate contract with P&W to supply the engines.

This comes back on Washington in the long run. Rolls Royce was developing a second engine for the program along with GE, and the DoD kept wanting to kill it. Congress funded it for awhile, because of cost over runs with the F135 that is currently installed on the aircraft. The F136 was actually a better engine for the B model than the F135 is. The 136 produced an additional 2,000 lbs of thrust in a hover. The 135 produces more thrust in aircraft mode, but the Rolls engine is better for the hover.

Most likely it's a manufacturing defect limited to a small run of engines, of just this engine. I've actually seen cracked blades a number of times, from simple little things from rocks, to how the engine was cleaned at the depot, when they took the blades out.

From what some of my sources tell me, there's no reason for Northrop to be rubbing their hands together. They have enough work that we don't hear about to keep them busy for awhile.
edit on 2/22/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 06:03 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

I know the Marine Corps was taking deliveries on B models, obviously its the same engine, but which version of the plane was the crack found on?

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 06:49 AM
reply to post by steppenwolf86

It was an A model. The engine had run about 700 hours, with 400 of that being flight hours. It's the only engine with cracks found to date, although the B model was originally delayed due to fatigue cracks in the engine.


posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 05:51 PM
reply to post by superman2012

I could be wrong, but I didn't think we had canceled them. Just that the Gov't is looking more at the alternatives. (which is a good thing imo).

It's unfortunate to hear about more problems with the 35. While I might not think it's the right plane for Canada, it's still a neat aircraft. I'm sure this won't be a tough thing to resolve. Probably just some bad QC at P&W, but it sure doesn't help matters either way.

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 07:07 PM
reply to post by jra

You're right! It's funny that the government is censoring the final report though! Do I love Harper? Nope.

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 09:00 PM
reply to post by jra

It's kind of an over reaction, because of the early problems the F135 had. It's only one engine to date that has any cracking.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 07:23 AM
God I love watching people in the testing program bob and weave.

On Feb 14th an F-35 landed after there was smoke in the cockpit. They removed some components of a Honeywell system to send back for testing. It has been determined that it was an "isolated, software related issue that poses minimal risk". Now, I might not always be the sharpest tool in the shed, but since when does software cause smoke in the cockpit?

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 07:46 AM
never had smoke in the cockpit from software, more often than not it was the VSD burning up (f-15c/d) when the VSD get slammed in sometimes pinches the wire harness'.

maybe some of the fancy glass cockpit toys had old/wrong software and burned itself out from the inside. doubtful, but with the new toys it probably has i guess i wouldnt say impossible.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 07:51 AM
reply to post by neformore

Personally, I think the F-22 Raptor is a far superior aircraft than the F-35 Lightning II. But... the choice of the F-35 was based on initial prospects of how cheaply this plane in all it variations, could be manufactured and then, maintained.

To date, most of those rosy predictions have pretty much shattered. Now, the US and NATO are stuck with what may be a flying duck and there's not a lot that anyone can do now except keep their fingers crossed.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 10:41 AM
reply to post by neformore

First of all Lockheed isn't responsible for the F-35's engines, that's Pratt & Whitney.

Secondly, the F-22 has been in service for less than 10 years. Name an airframe that hasn't had a notable issue in its first 10 years.

Finally, Northrop has their fair share of DoD acquisition blunders (see: B-2). Plus they've got quite a few cushy UCAV contracts so I'm sure they're just fine how they are.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 04:25 PM

Originally posted by superman2012
At least Canada had the good sense to cancel the order for 65 planes. Although, I don't like to equate Harper with good sense and am not in the least bit suggesting this.

You're in luck! You don't have too.

Harper never cancelled the F-35 purchase, the Auditor General forced the Conservatives to follow the legal procurement process.

Not that it matters, as long as 'VLO' and 'Stealth' are in the requirements (which they are), there is no other choice.

And, it's not like we would be intelligent enough to purchase a 4th gen craft, like a Su-xx via license built, to kick start the Canadian aero industry or anything, while we wait for the F-35 to reach maturity. I use the Su series as an example solo because it is extremely cheap (relatively speaking), and even the older (even cheaper) models would be superior to our current aircraft for Canada's domestic needs.. If the Super Hornet was a lot cheaper, it would be my choice for license building in Canada, due to the commonality with our current Hornets.

Side: Would it be viable to license build the old Hornets? Just as an interim solution? Wouldn't even need to change the design, and I am guessing that the vast majority of electronics (most upgraded in 2002, I believe) could be reused, but it would make our aging fleet significantly safer for our pilots until we get new craft. Would be the cheapest option, I think, while giving the Canadian aero industry some much needed refreshing.

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 12:40 AM
Yet another shot at a huge delay to the F-35 program. Pratt and Whitney is planning to test an upgraded version of the F135 engine later this year. It will use improved materials that may see a bump in fuel efficiency. There is talk that the changes made in the F135 will be retrofitted into the F119 used on the F-22.

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 10:41 AM
It appears the engine failure was caused by either a manufacturing problem, or an exposure to high heat sources within the engine. P&W are almost complete with their investigation and say that it doesn't appear that it was caused by changes made to the design of the engine.

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 10:56 AM

Originally posted by Zaphod58
Now, I might not always be the sharpest tool in the shed, but since when does software cause smoke in the cockpit?

Meh, it can happen.

If you've got really scruffy hardware design, it is possible for your hardware to allow the software to do physical damage.

Examples - heck, even in your PC, if it's got the ability to do voltage tweaking from the BIOS, for example, and if the hardware allows really out of line voltages to be set, to the point that you'll get a hardware failure, then a write to the wrong port or with the wrong value and you can overvoltage some parts and smoke them. Note that you don't even have to intend to do this, pick up a discarded pointer, fetch a random port index instead of what you intended and Bob's your uncle.

I have seen SCADA equipment where you had direct control over the transistors in H-bridges, with the gates mapped to I/O port pins. If you turned on all four transistors, bang, smoke, fire. Again, it's something you could do easily with a software error.

Basically, you see these sw-kills-hw things when you have the ability to either command a nonsense state on the hardware, or to configure the hardware lethally (voltage settings), or if you've got a shared bus that you can flip various non-compatible things onto and you fail to keep track of it.

If you designed the hardware correctly, you would not be able to do this. However, it's a big temptation to push the reins into the sw guys' hands in the name of flexibility.

OTOH, we have intentionally done this in some cases, where we designed self-destruct capabilities into SOC hardware. Now, THAT is fun design. How do I irreparably screw up this thing in such a way that you can't stop it once it starts? Everyone wants to work on the autodestruct subsection. And it's definitely a hoot over in the validation lab.

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 11:31 PM
reply to post by Bedlam

This far into the program, I would have expected it to crop up sooner if it was some kind of design problem, or them pushing things too far like that. This is the first time that I've ever heard of them claiming software causing a smoke problem like this.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:21 PM
As I said, it was an over reaction. The engine in question had been used in an aircraft that was pushing the envelope and had been operating near the edges of its parameters, and had been exposed to higher than usual heat during operations.

The F-35Bs were cleared and did start flying today. The F-35As are to begin flying again on the 5th. There was a previously planned maintenance down day scheduled for the 4th.

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