* F-35B and F-35C pilots have limitations on airspeed to avoid damage to the F-35’s airframe or stealth coating.
* Cockpit pressure spikes cause “excruciating” ear and sinus pain.
* Issues with the helmet-mounted display and night vision camera that contribute to the difficulty of landing the F-35C on an aircraft carrier.
The yearly Lockheed Martin production rate will increase from the 91 jets in 2018 to over 160 by 2023.
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.
These problems and several others will not be fixed before the planes go into higher volume production.
23 aircraft in the test fleet achieved a fully mission capable rate of 8.7 percent in June 2019. This means 2 out of 23 planes were fully mission capable at any one time. Since the beginning of operational testing in December 2018, the fleet has had an average fully mission capable rate of just 11 percent. The average is 3 out of 23 planes were mission ready.
The US Air Force, Navy and Marines can’t independently perform many of the most basic maintenance functions on the F-35 and must instead rely on civilian contractors. Lockheed Martin currently receives $2 billion a year to keep the fleet of approximately 400 aircraft flying. The annual operating cost for each F-35 is $5 million.
The cost projections stating $80 million per plane costs are accounting tricks. The real costs are well over $100 million.
SOURCES- Defense News, POGO
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com