F-35 Insulation Fix: All Air Force Planes Flying By End Of Year
By Colin Clark Breaking Defense on October 14, 2016 at 2:49 PM
WASHINGTON: Israel and Japan are likely to get their first F-35 Joint Strike
Fighters on schedule, and the Air Force‘s operational F-35s should be flying
by the end of this year without faulty insulation in fuel pipes that could
damage the aircraft, the F-35 Joint Program Office says.
“Rapid progress is being made in fixing 15 operational F-35A aircraft
needing modifications to repair non-compliant Polyalphaolefin (PAO) coolant
tubes,” the JPO said in a statement. “Modifications started 7 October on the
first four aircraft and the work takes about three weeks to complete. All 15
aircraft are expected to fly again by the end of the year.”
Flight operations for the 15 F-35A aircraft were suspended in September
following an inspection and discovery of debris in the fuel tank of an F-35A
aircraft. A supplier provided insulation that disintegrated when immersed in
fuel. Neither the JPO nor Lockheed martin have identified the supplier,
which continues to provide the program with insulation. It’s unlikely they’ll
make the same mistake twice.
The 42 aircraft still in assembly — including those for Israeli and Japan —
should start rolling off the line with fixed insulation in December.