Thermal coating problems land 43 US F-35 stealth fighters

WASHINGTON, BM – The fifth-generation stealth fighter and the American flagship for technological progress in military aircraft construction, the F-35, continues to be accompanied by problems, it became clear after hearing Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fick before the House Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces of Congress. According to the latest data released to the public, 15% of the US F-35 fleet cannot fly.

The reason, as it turns out, is a problem with the thermal coating of the turbine rotor blades, which, contrary to expectations and the expected service life, wear out too quickly. A congressional hearing revealed that 43 American F-35 stealth fighters could not fly for this very reason. This is 15% of the entire US F-35 fleet, which by May 8, 2021, numbered 283 F-35A. Three other fighters from NATO member states (not mentioned which ed.) also have this problem.

This problem is not an isolated case, but part of a rather large list that accompanies the development of the F-35 stealth fighter. In 2019, we published a report from the Pentagon, which lists approximately 870 problems related to the operation of the fighter, 13 of which are in the red zone – urgent to resolve.

These include problems with information transfer, spare parts, incorrect computer data in cold weather, bubbles and cracks on the fighter’s hull, frequent display of “green light” in the pilot’s helmet, problems with sensors and night vision sights, etc.

Adam Smith said strong words in early March this year. According to him, Washington and the American taxpayer continue to spend on something that has “such low capabilities.” Adam Smith is not an accidental man – he is the chairman of the US Armed Forces Committee. Some military experts have begun to compare the F-35 to the Ferrari – you only drive it on Sundays, but not every Sunday.

One of the first public reports of problems with the F-35 arrived in early 2019 from the Australian Air Force, which reported a problem with intergranular corrosion. Australia then hired the auditing and consulting firm KPMG to assess the problem that arose when using fighters in low humidity areas. But back in 2017, Australia was the first country to report various cracks in the body of the machine.

The situation with the problems associated with the development and operation of the F-35 in the US military has led to consideration of whether the Pentagon should continue the order of the F-35 from Lockheed Martin. On February 17, Charles Brown, commander of the US Air Force, told reporters again that Generation 4 ++ fighters could replace the planned production and commissioning of the F-35. There was a lot of talk about F-16 or F-15EX orders.


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