Fifth generation F-35 Lightning II fighters of the Marine Corps (ILC) and the United States Naval Forces (FMS) when flying at supersonic speeds are capable of maintaining stealth only a short time, otherwise they risk structural damage and lose their stealth, reports Defense News .
According to the documents received at the disposal of the publication, problems are connected with the glider and the cover of the fighter, as well as with the antennas in its tail section. Defense News writes that problems with the F-35B Lightning II at supersonic speeds were first discovered in November 2011 (the inconspicuous coverage of the aircraft "bubbled and swollen"), and with the F-35C Lightning II – in December of the same year ("thermal damage" violated the structure of the airframe).
Pentagon’s F-35 Lightning II program manager, Vice Admiral Mat Winter said that fighter problems of this kind can appear in a small number of cases, and Greg Ulmer, responsible for the fighter from Lockheed Martin, said the problems were limited to “the most extreme flight test conditions which are unlikely to be reproduced in actual operation. ”
According to Defense News, the deficiencies found may make impossible for the F-35C Lightning II supersonic interception. A partial solution to this problem was the use of a more heat-resistant coating in the afterburner area of the fighter.
Currently, the newspaper notes, the Pentagon has imposed restrictions on flight duration for the F-35B Lightning II and F-35C Lightning II at speeds above 1.2 Mach numbers, which can be difficult for pilots to follow.
"Restrictions afterburner, combined with another drawback associated with the maneuverability of the aircraft, can be deadly in melee scenarios," concludes Defense News.
In June, it was reported that the F-35A Lightning II of the 12th installment would cost the Pentagon $ 81 million, which is less than previous prices for this model aircraft.
In May, Lockheed Martin introduced the F-35C Lightning II concept with a pair of hypersonic cruise missiles created as part of the HAWC (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept) program.
In March, it was reported that the fifth-generation Russian fighter Su-57 inferior to the American F-35 Lightning II in stealth, but surpasses it in flight range, speed and maneuverability.
The fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II multifunctional fighter family has been manufactured since 2001 by Lockheed Martin, the US military-industrial corporation. The aircraft is made in three versions: A (for the air force), B (with a short takeoff and vertical landing) and C (deck).
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