Deck-Based Version of American Fighter F-35 Lightning II Not Suitable for Deck Landing


Deck-based version of American fighter F-35 Lightning II happened to be incapable for deck landing, writes The Daily Telegraph referring to Pentagon’s report.

The point is that arrester hook of F-35C is situated too close to landing gear, and this poses a problem for pilot to hook arrester’s barrier cable. According to the report, F-35C took part in 8 test landings on the deck simulator. None of them was successful.

It was also mentioned in the Pentagon’s summary that F-35C won’t be capable to launch AIM-132 ASRAAM missiles operated by Royal Air Force. Besides, US Department of Defense made a guess that F-35C was not adapted for air support which is one of the key tasks for deck-based aviation. Reportedly, some parameters were not tested at all, so other defects can be revealed in future.

According to Pentagon, if the fighter is not redesigned soon, the F-35C program could be in precarious state. The project can be also shut down due to considerable costs of redesigning works and engineering changes of already assembled fighters.

It is noteworthy that two out of three programs currently run under the F-35 project are on the threshold of closing. In Jan 2011, Pentagon set a two-year trial period for F-35B STOVL fighter; in that period engineers will have to eliminate all defects revealed. If experts fail to meet the deadline, the project would be closed.

F-35 is developed by Lockheed Martin which is about to produce three variants of the airplane: F-35A CTOL, F-35B STOVL, and F-35C CV. Totally, it is planned to manufacture 3,100 new fighters including 2,473 to be commissioned in US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine Corps. Great Britain is about to purchase 50 aircrafts for $7.6 bln; F-35C will be the only type of deck-based fighter in Royal Navy.

Naval Today Staff , January 18, 2012