All STOVL variant aircraft operating at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Marine Air Station Yuma, Ariz.., And Lockheed's production factory in Fort Worth, Texas, while grounded Have Been engineer teams review data on the jet.
The office made the decision Effective at 10:00 am CST at Eglin test flight was aborted by the pilot falling on a conventional takeoff roll. There Were No injuries to the pilot or the crew.
The abort occurred Because of a failure to a propulsion fueldraulic line, Which Enables movement in the actuators for the STOVL's exhaust system.
The F-35A (conventional) and F-35C (carrier) variants are unaffected.
"Implementing a precautionary suspension of flight operations is a prudent response Until F-35B engineering, technical and system safety teams fully Understand the causes of the failure," wrote JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova year in emailed statement.
"Once the causal and Contributing factoring are Understood, a determination will be made when to lift the suspension and reinstate F-35B flight operations," wrote DellaVedova. He added That impact on flight test operations are Being Assessed, and ground operations on the F-35B will continue.
A spokesman for Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the 5th generation fighter, directed issues to Pratt & Whitney, the engine is designed Which the JSF. Pratt & Whitney HAS Delivered 87 F-35 engines, Including 40 of the STOVL variety.
"An initial inspection Discovered a detached fueldraulic line in the aft portion of the engine compartment near the bearing swivel module," spokesman Matthew Bates wrote in emailed statement year. "This component is not used in the CV or CTOL variant aircraft. A team of Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce engineers is Investigating the causes of the incident and working Closely with Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office to resolve the matter. "
Bates aussi Noted That P & W engines Have successfully completed Almost 25.000 hours of testing, Including 4.270 flight hours.
The system was highlighted fueldraulic as a potential issue in the annual report to Congress released this week by the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation Office (OT & E). Noted That the report of the hand was removed fueldraulic system in 2008 to save 9 pounds.
The testers warned que le fueldraulic system leaves open the opportunity of a Sustained fire if exposed, aim Noted que le program office "is the Accepting Increased vulnerability associated with the system and is currently fueldraulic not reinstating Considering the fueldraulic fuses in the generation aircraft configuration. '