Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The Air Force and Marine variants of the F-35 developed cracks in testing of the fighter's durability and wasn't sufficiently reliable in training flights last year, according to a report released Tuesday. The Pentagon's chief tester, Michael Gilmore, notes cracks occurred in fuselage bulkheads, flanges, stiffeners and engine mounts. The report says it will require mitigation plans and may include redesigning parts and additional weight. The test report also outlined achievements, finding that flight tests performed by 18 jets to evaluate the aircraft’s flying prowess and handling qualities "made the planned progress" and "nearly matched or exceeded" sortie goals through October. (Source: Bloomberg, 01/28/14) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.