Copa promising fighter F-35 Ligtning II is not able to withstand lightning strikes. This is the conclusion of operational management of test and evaluation (OT & E) Pentagon. In the true time aircraft is not authorized to fly in areas where thunderstorms are more frequent. The aircraft is also prohibited to approach the least than 40 km to such zones.
Besides neobmyslennoy protection of avionics by lightning, fighter also received a rather weak system for generating inert gas (OBIGGS), is responsible for filling the vacated volume of fuel tanks with inert gases and maintenance of low-level oxygen. In grozoopasnyh areas with constantly changing atmospheric pressure system may malfunction.
Maintaining a constant low level of oxygen in the fuel tanks is to prevent an explosion of the engine and tanks themselves in the event of a lightning strike. In addition, deficiencies OBIGGS and led to a speed limit reduction. At the current time, this option is flying at least six thousand meters, must not exceed 1.8 thousand meters per minute. In the unlikely event OBIGGS may also fail.
Based on the verification of fighters F-35 OT & E has limited the flight characteristics of the aircraft. Now for the carrier-based version of the F-35 — C — slow overloading at steady reversal should not exceed 5g (previously 5,1 g). In addition, the time required to accelerate from 0.8 to 1.2 Mach number was increased to 43 seconds.
This time for the ordinary version F-35 — A — increased by eight seconds, and for a short takeoff and vertical landing — B — 16 seconds. Overloading in the steady spread of F-35A has been reduced from 5,3 g to 4,6 g, and for the F-35B — from 5g up to 4,5 g.
The researchers also found problems with the horizontal tail F-35, appropriate for all versions of the aircraft. At high speed flight or on huge heights tail often experiencing extreme changes in temperature, and this leads to the coating may peel off and in some cases may even lead to the destruction of the elevators.
The fighters were also found deficiencies design, resulting in excessive fluctuations rudder and flaperon in the transition from subsonic to supersonic flight and vice versa. In addition, often recorded cases of buffeting. Developers want to make the configuration of the software to lower pivot point of the elevators and flaperons when flying at speeds border.
A complete list found on the F-35 problems and flaws can be found in the report of OT & E. It is possible that the timing of availability of all 3 versions of the F-35 can be displaced. At the current time for the completion of the development F-35A in 2016, F-35B — in 2018, and the F-35C — in 2017.