According to a document obtained by Defense News the F-35 going into tests into fall 2018 suffered from 13 identified “category 1 deficiencies”, most of which have until now not been known to the public or Congress:
- The F-35’s logistics system currently has no way for foreign F-35 operators to keep their secret data from being sent to the United States.
- The spare parts inventory shown by the F-35’s logistics system does not always reflect reality, causing occasional mission cancellations.
- Cabin pressure spikes in the cockpit of the F-35 have been known to cause barotrauma, the word given to extreme ear and sinus pain.
- In very cold conditions — defined as at or near minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit — the F-35 will erroneously report that one of its batteries have failed, sometimes prompting missions to be aborted.
- Supersonic flight in excess of Mach 1.2 can cause structural damage and blistering to the stealth coating of the F-35B and F-35C.
- After doing certain maneuvers, F-35B and F-35C pilots are not always able to completely control the aircraft’s pitch, roll and yaw.
- If the F-35A and F-35B blows a tire upon landing, the impact could also take out both hydraulic lines and pose a loss-of-aircraft risk.
- A “green glow” sometimes appears on the helmet-mounted display, washing out the imagery in the helmet and making it difficult to land the F-35C on an aircraft carrier.
- On nights with little starlight, the night vision camera sometimes displays green striations that make it difficult for all variants to see the horizon or to land on ships.
- The sea search mode of the F-35’s radar only illuminates a small slice of the sea’s surface.
- When the F-35B vertically lands on very hot days, older engines may be unable to produce the required thrust to keep the jet airborne, resulting in a hard landing.
The tests revealed four more such “category 1 deficiencies”, that is flaws which can result in the pilot not being able to accomplish a mission.
No worries though, the Pentagon is creatively tackling the problem of seventeen category 1 flaws by recategorizing them as either “category 1A” flaws which have to be fixed, and “category C 1B” which really aren’t all that serious in a mass-produced plane:
The F-35 Joint Program Office appears to be making fast progress, but not all problems will be solved before the full-rate production decision, said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the Defense Department’s F-35 program executive.
“None of them, right now, are against any of the design, any of the hardware or any of the manufacturing of the aircraft, which is what the full-rate production decision is for,” he told Defense News in an interview. “There are no discrepancies that put at risk a decision of the department to approve us to go into full-rate production.”
Nine out of 13 problems will likely either be corrected or downgraded to category 2 status before the Pentagon determines whether to start full-rate production, and two will be adjudicated in future software builds, Winter said.
However, the F-35 program office has no intention of correcting two of the problems addressed in the documents, with the department opting to accept additional risk.
Winter maintains that none of the issues represent any serious or catastrophic risk to pilots, the mission or the F-35 airframe. After being contacted by Defense News, the program office created two designations of category 1 problems to highlight the difference between issues that would qualify as an emergency and others that are more minor in nature.
“CAT 1-As are loss of life, potential loss of life, loss of material aircraft. Those have to be adjudicated, have to be corrected within hours, days. We have no CAT 1-A deficiencies,” Winter said.
Instead, the deficiencies on the books all fall under category 1B, which represents problems “that have a mission impact with a current workaround that’s acceptable to the war fighter with the knowledge that we will be able to correct that deficiency at some future time,” Winter added.
What do you know, every single of the flaws is a CAT 1-B. Wonder why they are even bothering trying to fix them. Just never go over 1.2 mach, into a steep climb, never fly at night, attempt to land on a carrier, or on a hot day and don’t have ears and problem solved! “Acceptable workaround”!