Report: Marine and Navy F-35 Pilots Need to Ration Afterburners at High Altitudes

Sebastien Roblin
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex L. Smedegard)

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Americas

Another problem for this very expensive stealth fighter.

Report: Marine and Navy F-35 Pilots Need to Ration Afterburners at High Altitudes

After eighteen years of troubled and controversial development, the Lockheed F-35 Lightning stealth fighter may soon enter mass production, many of its bugs having been expensively squashed after delivery of an initial four-hundred “low-rate-of-initial-production” aircraft.

However, a June 2019 scoop by Defense News journalists Valerie Insinna, David Larter and Aaron Mehta has revealed thirteen serious Category-1 flaws remain.

As reported by Insinna and Larter, on two occasions late in 2011 an F-35B and F-35C flying near their maximum service ceiling of 50,000 feet damaged themselves using their afterburners to attain speeds of Mach 1.3 and 1.4.

Remarkably, these eight-year-old incidents had not been previously reported to the public, despite numerous critical reports by the Government Accountability Office and Department of Testing & Evaluation.

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