The F-35 Lightning II can’t fly in lightning once again

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spazsinbad

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Unread post25 Jun 2020, 04:27

More or less the same story here: https://www.airforcemag.com/no-lightnin ... er-notice/
The F-35 Lightning II can’t fly in lightning once again
24 Jun 2020 Valerie Insinna

"WASHINGTON — The most widely used variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is currently unable to fly in thunderstorms after the discovery of damage to one of the systems it uses to protect itself from lightning, its prime contractor Lockheed Martin said Wednesday. To safely fly in conditions where lightning is present, the F-35 relies on its Onboard Inert Gas Generation System, or OBIGGS, which pumps nitrogen-enriched air into the fuel tanks to inert them. Without this system, a jet could explode if struck by lightning.

However, damage to one of the tubes that distributes inert gas into the fuel tank was discovered during routine depot maintenance of an F-35A at Hill Air Force Base’s Ogden Logistics Complex in Utah, Lockheed said in a statement.
Lockheed temporarily paused F-35 deliveries June 2-23 as the company validated whether it was properly installing OBIGGS systems. However, “it appears this anomaly is occurring in the field after aircraft delivery,” Lockheed said in a statement. Lockheed has since delivered two F-35s, company spokesman Brett Ashworth said.

Because it cannot be confirmed that the OBIGGS system would function properly if the jet was hit by lightning, the F-35 Joint Program Office has opted to institute flight restrictions. “As a safety precaution, the JPO recommended to unit commanders that they implement a lightning flight restriction for the F-35A, which restricts flying within 25 miles of lightning or thunderstorms,” Lockheed said. “We are working with the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) on a root cause corrective action investigation to determine next steps.”

The issue only seems to affect the F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing variant... Bloomberg, which obtained a JPO memo dated June 5, reported that flawed tubes were found in 14 of the 24 “A” models inspected...."

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/06 ... nce-again/
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Unread post14 Oct 2020, 05:51

F-35 jet’s problematic lightning protection system set to receive fix
13 Oct 2020 Valerie Insinna

"WASHINGTON — By the end of 2020, F-35 fighter jets rolling off Lockheed Martin’s production line will be equipped with a modified lightning protection system that will fix problems discovered earlier this year, the company’s head of production said.

In June, the government’s F-35 Joint Program Office imposed flight restrictions on the F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing variant — the model used by the U.S. Air Force and most international customers — after the Air Force discovered an issue with the Onboard Inert Gas Generation System.

OBIGGS allows the jet to safely fly in conditions where lightning is present by pumping nitrogen-enriched air into the fuel tanks to inert them, preventing the aircraft from exploding if it is struck by lightning. However, maintainers at Hill Air Force Base’s Ogden Logistics Complex in Utah found damage to one of the tubes that distributes inert gas into the fuel tank, increasing the risk that the system may not function as designed.

While flight restrictions are still in effect, the Defense Department and Lockheed have come to an agreement on a fix for the OBIGGS system, Darren Sekiguchi, Lockheed’s vice president of F-35 production, told Defense News in a Oct. 5 interview.

The fix primarily involves “strengthening a number of brackets associated with these tubes for OBIGGS,” Sekiguchi said, which will ultimately allow the tubes inside the fuel tank to be held in place more securely and prevent movement that could lead to damage.

“Changes certainly have been incorporated in the production line already,” he said, adding that the first aircraft with the modified system will be ready for delivery by the end of 2020.

While a corrective action has been put in place for new F-35s, the Defense Department and Lockheed are still discussing how best to implement a fix for jets already fielded by the Air Force. The final schedule for retrofitting the jets will ultimately be determined by the service’s availability, but “doing the modifications in the field will likely take several years,” Sekiguchi said.

The ongoing negotiations will also determine whether Lockheed takes financial responsibility for the problem....

...Under the current flight restrictions, F-35As are prohibited from flying within 25 miles of lightning or thunderstorms — a practice that is typical for most flight training. [Generally ANY aircraft should steer clear of THUNDERBUMPERS]

A June 5 memo by the government’s F-35 program office noted that damaged OBIGGS tubes had been documented in 14 of the 24 “A” models inspected at that time. Lockheed Martin paused F-35 deliveries for three weeks in early June to allow the company to validate whether it was properly installing OBIGGS systems, which are manufactured by BAE Systems. F-35 deliveries resumed later that month.... [then lots more about PRODUCTION SLOWDOWN DUE THE VIRUS.]

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/10 ... ceive-fix/
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