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F-35: Second test plane powers up, but first plane stays grounded



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 27th 07, 11:11 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
Mike[_7_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 111
Default F-35: Second test plane powers up, but first plane stays grounded

http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/282516.html

Second test plane powers up, but first plane stays grounded

Work on the second F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter test
aircraft has reached a key milestone, but the one test aircraft that
last flew nearly six months ago is still grounded.

Lockheed Martin reported Friday that the electrical system of the
second aircraft was turned on for the first time late Thursday, an
important step in the lengthy process that is expected to lead to test
flights by mid-2008.

The F-35 program, now estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers at least $299
billion, is at a sensitive stage. Lockheed and its partner contractors
need to show steady progress to maintain political support and
continued funding.

The second test aircraft being assembled in Lockheed's west Fort Worth
factory is the first F-35B short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL)
plane like those designed for use by the Marine Corps, the British
Royal Navy and Air Force, and the Italian armed forces.

With the electrical system operational, engineers and technicians can
begin conducting the thousands of hours of ground tests required
before the plane can be flown.

The plane is the first to be built to specifications coming out of a
major and costly redesign effort launched in 2004 after officials
overseeing the program realized that the airplane was going to be too
heavy.

Lockheed officials had hoped to resume test flights of the first
aircraft by the end of this month. The plane has been grounded since a
hazardous electrical problem was discovered in early May.

Lockheed's chief financial officer, Bruce Tanner, told Wall Street
analysts earlier this week that flight testing probably would not
resume until next month.

Spokesman John Smith said Friday that "final preparations for flight
testing" were under way and that the aircraft "will fly when it's
ready."

Testing has been further delayed after Pratt & Whitney engineers
discovered engine damage after ground tests in mid-September on an
engine identical to that used in the F-35 test aircraft.

Smith said that a number of successful engine ground tests have been
conducted since.

The electrical-system problem that caused the grounding has long since
been addressed: The problem parts have been redesigned. Other
components have also been replaced, and new software has been
installed and checked out in ground tests.

The spate of technical problems and delays has pushed the F-35 program
over budget. Lockheed has proposed cutting two test aircraft and about
1,500 planned test flights in later years to save money, saying it can
accomplish all the needed tests with fewer planes and fewer flights.

Michael Sullivan, an analyst with the Government Accountability
Office, said the track record of the F-35 program doesn't inspire
confidence.

"We don't see any evidence that is a reasonable rationale that makes
any sense," Sullivan said.

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  #2  
Old October 29th 07, 10:40 PM posted to rec.aviation.military,sci.military.naval,rec.aviation.military.naval
Finn[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1
Default F-35: Second test plane powers up, but first plane stays grounded

On Oct 27, 6:11 pm, Mike wrote:
http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/282516.html

Second test plane powers up, but first plane stays grounded

Work on the second F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter test
aircraft has reached a key milestone, but the one test aircraft that
last flew nearly six months ago is still grounded.

Lockheed Martin reported Friday that the electrical system of the
second aircraft was turned on for the first time late Thursday, an
important step in the lengthy process that is expected to lead to test
flights by mid-2008.

The F-35 program, now estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers at least $299
billion, is at a sensitive stage. Lockheed and its partner contractors
need to show steady progress to maintain political support and
continued funding.

The second test aircraft being assembled in Lockheed's west Fort Worth
factory is the first F-35B short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL)
plane like those designed for use by the Marine Corps, the British
Royal Navy and Air Force, and the Italian armed forces.

With the electrical system operational, engineers and technicians can
begin conducting the thousands of hours of ground tests required
before the plane can be flown.

The plane is the first to be built to specifications coming out of a
major and costly redesign effort launched in 2004 after officials
overseeing the program realized that the airplane was going to be too
heavy.

Lockheed officials had hoped to resume test flights of the first
aircraft by the end of this month. The plane has been grounded since a
hazardous electrical problem was discovered in early May.

Lockheed's chief financial officer, Bruce Tanner, told Wall Street
analysts earlier this week that flight testing probably would not
resume until next month.

Spokesman John Smith said Friday that "final preparations for flight
testing" were under way and that the aircraft "will fly when it's
ready."

Testing has been further delayed after Pratt & Whitney engineers
discovered engine damage after ground tests in mid-September on an
engine identical to that used in the F-35 test aircraft.

Smith said that a number of successful engine ground tests have been
conducted since.

The electrical-system problem that caused the grounding has long since
been addressed: The problem parts have been redesigned. Other
components have also been replaced, and new software has been
installed and checked out in ground tests.

The spate of technical problems and delays has pushed the F-35 program
over budget. Lockheed has proposed cutting two test aircraft and about
1,500 planned test flights in later years to save money, saying it can
accomplish all the needed tests with fewer planes and fewer flights.

Michael Sullivan, an analyst with the Government Accountability
Office, said the track record of the F-35 program doesn't inspire
confidence.

"We don't see any evidence that is a reasonable rationale that makes
any sense," Sullivan said.


Hey look, I don't think this makes a difference, the F-35 is an
official project now. Due to pressure from Canada, Great Britain,
Norway, Turkey, and Australia, the future international users of the
JSF, Lockheed Martin must proceed in the development of this aircraft.
I beleive that it will be tough, but I think that by 2015 Lockeed
Martin will put this sucker into international service. In the means
of importance, this is top priority. This is only one of the many new
aircraft being put into the early developmental stages. I think a good
success story can be taken from the Saab JAS39 Gripen. Like the F-35,
it was designed to be cheap, easily maintained, long term, and
efficient. The whole project started in the early ninties, and
already, as of 2007, the Gripen is a full fledged operational fighter.
Judjing by that, I think we're in good shape.

 




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