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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Air Force Grounds 'Combat Ready' F-35s Over Coolant Line Flaws

Seven weeks after the Air Force declared its first F-35 jets combat ready, 10 of the aircraft aren't flying after service mechanics discovered "peeling and crumbling" insulation wrapped around lines that carry liquid to cool combat systems and computers.

The poor insulation is suspected on 57 aircraft, including 42 on Lockheed Martin Corp.'s production line. The issue is not a design flaw with the aircraft but instead caused by manufacturing quality glitches with one of two subcontractors which make the 18 lines through which the coolant flows, according to an Air Force statement and an interview with a service official, who asked not to be identified.

If not fixed, the crumbling insulation could become lodged in the lines connecting the aircraft's wing and fuselage fuel tanks causing potential over-pressure or under-pressure that "may cause structural damage to the fuel tanks," according to a statement sent Friday to House and Senate defense committees.

"The issue was discovered during depot modification" of an Air Force jet and has resulted this month in a "temporary pause in flight operations," according to a separate statement from the service. Ten of the 15 aircraft not flying are located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, home of the service's first combat-ready squadron. The other five aircraft don't have the flawed insulation and continue to fly regular sorties, the office said. Two aircraft delivered for Norway are also not flying, said the official.



Anonymous said...

It just goes to show that you can't use pipe wrap from the hardware store in applications like this. Will the contractor be held to task for providing substandard parts? Probably not.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. 3000 feet of pipe wrap from Lowe's at 8 cents a foot is $240. Add delivery charges of $50 from Lowe's to the nearby factory. The final invoice for the parts, $1.3 million. Not bad.

Anonymous said...

And while we're at it, let's announce to our enemies that we're 57 aircraft down.
Military intelligence at its best.

Anonymous said...

Its worth the risk 954 when it means we the tax payer get to see how our money is thrown down the tube on boondoggles like this

Anonymous said...

11 years later, the plane still does not work.