Inspectors have found a small crack in one of the wing spars of an F-35C carrier variant test aircraft, according to the Joint Program Office.

The discovery does not impact current F-35 flying operations, and will not affect the Navy’s ability to meet its planned initial operating capability date in August 2018, JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova told Defense News Monday.

Compared to the F-35A, the F-35C carrier variant features larger wings with foldable wingtip sections, larger wing and tail control surfaces for improved low-speed control, stronger landing gear for the stresses of carrier arrested landings, a twin-wheel nose gear, and a stronger tailhook for use with carrier arrestor cables. The larger wing area allows for decreased landing speed while increasing both range and payload.

The United States Navy intends to buy 480 F-35Cs to replace the F/A-18A, B, C, and D Hornets and complement the Super Hornet fleet.

The test aircraft is being used in what’s called “durability ground testing”, a normal test programme in which testers apply loads to the airframe to simulate operational flying and identify any potential problems. Such discoveries are expected during a developmental test programme.

Joe DellaVedova said:

“The purpose of durability testing is to intentionally stress the aircraft to its structural limits so we can identify any issues and corrective actions needed to fix them.”

This type of testing will ensure the F-35’s requirement for 8,000 flight hours, DellaVedova noted. During durability tests, the plane is tested to two lifetimes, or 16,000 flight hours, he explained.

The test aircraft with the crack had more than 13,700 test hours, which equates to 6,850 flight hours — or more than 20 years of operational flying.

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Mark Foster
4 years ago

And cannabis in the undercarriage?…..

Lee Anderson
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Foster

Good one ?

Jony Lemon Jones
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Foster

Matt Jones

Lee Hodgson
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Foster

Lol

Ted Dinsmore
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Foster

Glad I’m not alone!! 🙂

Andy Berry
4 years ago

wonder if any of the whiners will actually read the part that states that findings like this are expected – the bit in bold…………probably not many i guess

John Macfadyen
4 years ago

It’s what testing is for………to test how far the aircraft can be pushed.

UK Defence Journal
4 years ago
Reply to  John Macfadyen

Indeed, we make this clear in the article.

Ian Tandy
4 years ago

Roll up, roll up… bets on the next fault delaying things… Ejector Seat safety pin missing ? Lack of spare Ford spark plugs ? An engine with a VW emissions motherboard ? A beer holder that only carries Canadian beer cans ? A cigar ash holder too close to the aircon system ? Or is the seat cushion not comfy enough ?

Raymond Williams
4 years ago
Reply to  Ian Tandy

It’s a load of junk lol

Jack William Millen
4 years ago
Reply to  Ian Tandy

You didn’t read the article did you…..

James Gale
4 years ago
Reply to  Ian Tandy

Love armchair warriors indicating something is junk when they truly know nothing.

Benjamin William Champley Waterhouse
Reply to  Ian Tandy

Rule of thumb, anyone that writes “lol” is retarded and their views matter nothing at all.

Jack William Millen
4 years ago

Would appear to us that this aircraft is going well beyond what’s expected of it……IF you read the article

Antonio Maksimil'yan Romano

f 35 is shit

UK Defence Journal
4 years ago

Not according to people with first hand experience

Mark Horne
4 years ago

it was a test aircraft one they test till it breaks just like any other aircraft even passenger aircraft

Antonio Maksimil'yan Romano

su 37 is a very aircraft

John Macfadyen
4 years ago

Antonio in relationship to what as you appear know more about the F35 than your assessment dictates

James Gale
4 years ago

Antonio so the sum of your argument is the Internet. You know absolutely zilch about the aircraft so your argument is worthless.
As for the Su37 it is deceased. It never existed except as two prototypes built up from the Su35…which in turn is from the Su27…An aircraft design that dates back from the early 90s.
Go away troll and come back when you have a half decent argument.

Antonio Maksimil'yan Romano

I know
but is more powerful than f 35 because all aircraft is better than f 35
i”m not a troll
p.s
now there is t 50
and wath is your argument about f 35?

Benjamin William Champley Waterhouse

I think you’ll find it’s mostly metal, plastics and composites… Not shit…

James Gale
4 years ago

T50 is still on the drawing board and therenis little proof about it’s capability. Again it is from the Su27 upgrade line…so not truly designed from scratch but more an upgrade of an existing airframe.
Anyway I am not going to be drawn into an argument where you pathetically suggest every aircraft is better than the F35. Sad kid….go away troll.

Scot La Preze
4 years ago

Antonio Maksimil’yan Romano Sorry, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Antonio Maksimil'yan Romano

shut up stupid american

Jack William Millen
4 years ago

Obviously that last comment screams “aviation expert”

Stephen Brown
4 years ago

> The test aircraft is being used in what’s called “durability ground testing”, a normal test programme in which testers apply loads to the airframe to simulate operational flying and identify any potential problems. Such discoveries are expected during a developmental test programme. < Endex.

Ted Dinsmore
4 years ago

JEEZUS PLEEZUS…it says ON the wing spar, so I thought that they meant the DRUG!! DUUUHHHH on my part!! LMAO

CharleyA
CharleyA
4 years ago

This is what testing is for – no argument there. The USN is being sensible in that they are purchasing relatively few examples before SDD (testing) is completed – unlike the USAF and USMC who are purchasing dozens and dozens of aircraft that will have to be modified once all the design defects are discovered. This strategy, aka “concurrency” will add an average of about $9M to the final price of these early production jets. Partners who buy early in the program will also face these costs, which is one reason why they have been slow to ramp up their… Read more »

Scot La Preze
4 years ago

Minor issue and very common….

UK Defence Journal
4 years ago
Reply to  Scot La Preze

Yes, as the article states.

Peter Vlasveld
4 years ago

Liquid nails will fix it