F-35B aircraft

The US Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Navy have waived the temporary flight operations restrictions on Lockheed Martin short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B variant aircraft fleet.

Being developed for the US Marine Corps (USMC), the F-35B aircraft fleet was temporarily grounded by the US F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) on 18 January after a fueldraulic hose failure.

Suspension on the aircraft was effective at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland; Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida; and MCAS Yuma, Arizona; as well as Lockheed’s production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, US.

During the investigation, performed by the government, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce engineering teams, it was found that the root cause for the failure was due to an improperly crimped hose.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

In a statement, US F-35 Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said: "All affected hoses have been inspected, and those out of tolerances will be replaced."

Flight clearance for the fleet of 25 F-35B model jets was received, following completion of fault house replacement by airworthiness authorities at Naval Air Systems Command and the F-35 JPO.

"All affected hoses have been inspected, and those out of tolerances will be replaced."

The fueldraulic system powers the actuator for the F-35B’s STOVL exhaust vectoring system.

Pratt & Whitney Military Engines communications manager Matthew Bates said: "We took additional steps with our supplier to ensure hose integrity for the entire fleet, and we are confident in the integrity of the overall propulsion system."

The single-engine, fifth generation F-35B fighter aircraft has been designed to replace the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II fighter aircraft currently in service with the USMC.

Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburner turbofan engine, F-35B can cruise at a maximum speed of 1,960km/h and has a range of 1,667km.

Image: An F-35B aircraft lands on an aircraft carrier. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Defence Technology