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Sun, Mar 12, 2023

Lockheed Martin Resumes F-35 Test Flights

With Fix for Engine Resonance Issue Available, Operations can Resume

After an unusual incident involving an F-35, Lockheed Martin has resumed acceptance flight operations after a 3-month hiatus.

The problem landing occurred on December 15, 2022, when an aircraft undergoing a checkout experienced an apparent engine issue as it made a vertical landing, bouncing off the tarmac and collapsing the nose gear before settling on the ground.

The issue has been addressed, with a fix designed for the Pratt & Whitney F135 engines to address a "rare system phenomenon involving harmonic resonance". After the solution was devised in February, the US Department of Defense okayed further deliveries of the F135 system. Further fixes to existing engines throughout the F-35 fleet were advised by the F-35 Joint Program Office, who said they were cheap and non-intrusive.

The fixes were referred to as an "engine vibration issue", by the JPO. While the issue at hand is thought to be considerably rare, they recommend a uniform engine configuration throughout the F-35 fleet - not just within the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Units, but other partner nations, too. The fix should take about 4 to 8 hours of maintenance time, for those operators willing to provide it.

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com

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