February 04, 2016

All F35s to date will require modifications prior to use in combat and the pilot ejection system will kill 23% of lighter pilots

A newly released Pentagon report on the F35 indicates that every F35 aircraft bought to date requires modifications prior to use in combat.

Tthe F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is over three years behind schedule and some $200 billion over its original budget.

The fighter jet has been in development for nearly 15 years, weathered half a dozen years of testing and experienced myriad hardware malfunctions and software glitches along the way. Once it's declared ready for combat, it will be the most expensive weapons system in world history.

Now they are attempting to rush the F35 ahead in spite of all of the known problems.

(H/T to Patrick Tucker of Defense One)

Pilot Escape System would break the neck of the pilot - 100% some kind of neck injury and 23% chance of death for pilots below 165 pounds

The program conducted two sled tests on the pilot escape system in July and August 2015 that resulted in failures of the system to successfully eject a manikin without exceeding load/stress limits on the manikin. These sled tests were needed in order to qualify the new Gen III HMDS for flight release. In July 2015, a sled test on a 103-pound manikin with a Gen III helmet at 160 knots speed demonstrated the system failed to meet neck injury criteria. The program did not consider this failure to be solely caused by the heavier Gen III helmet, primarily due to similarly poor test results observed with the Gen II helmet on a 103-pound manikin in 2010 tests. The program conducted another sled test in August 2015 using a 136-pound manikin with the Gen III helmet at 160 knots. The system also failed to meet neck injury criteria in this test. Similar sled testing with Gen II helmets in 2010 did not result in exceedance of neck loads for 136-pound pilots.

After the latter failure, the Program Office and Services decided to restrict pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from flying any F-35 variant, regardless of helmet type (Gen II or Gen III). Pilots weighing between 136 and 165 pounds are considered at less risk than lighter weight pilots, but still at an increased risk (compared to heavier pilots). The level of risk was labeled “serious” by the Program Office based on the probability of death being 23 percent, and the probability of neck extension (which will result in some level of injury) being 100 percent. Currently, the Program Office and the Services have decided to accept this level of risk to pilots in this weight range, although the basis for the decision to accept these risks is unknown

SOURCES - Department of Defense

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