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One major issue that has recently popped up on the US Navy's F-35C variant is that the aircraft's tail-hook has had to be redesigned. That is because the existing design has failed to catch an arresting cable during trials. Lockheed is working on a new improved hook design that should fix the problem.
"We have modified the hook pointwith a lower center of gravity," says Steve O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president for F-35 programme integration and business development. Additionally, "we've redesigned the hold-down damper."
The new design is scheduled for its preliminary design review in "the summer." That will be followed by a critical design review in the fourth quarter.
After the new hook design undergoes shore-based qualification trails, the F-35C will undergo sea trials on a carrier in late 2013 or early 2014.
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