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F-35 fleet grounded after generator failure

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 16, 2011

The US military has grounded its entire fleet of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, after a dual generator failure and oil leak on test aircraft AF-4 last Friday (March 11).

Reuters and DoD Buzz report that the F-35A was completing a flight test at Edwards Air Force base when the mishap occurred, with the aircraft almost experiencing a complete loss of control before its backup power system, known as the Integrated Power Package, kicked in.

“The jet returned safely to base. As a routine safety precaution, the Joint Program Office (JPO) has temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations until a team of JPO and LM technical experts determines the root cause of the generator failure and oil leak,” Lockheed Martin F-35 spokesman John Kent said.

“Once the cause is known, the appropriate repairs and improvements will be made before flight operations resume.”

USAF bound AF-4 was the fifth CTOL variant to ferry to Edwards for flight testing in late January. Lockheed Martin states that a total of two production jets and eleven preproduction F-35s have completed 683 test flights since December 2006.

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