Nearly 15% of the US Air Force’s F-35 fleet is out of service due to a lack of engines
July 16, 2021 05:09 GMT
Darlene Costello, acting undersecretary for procurement, technology and logistics, explained that the total number of aircraft is 41.
Senior congressional officials said at a hearing this week that dozens of the US Air Force’s fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters are currently out of service due to engine losses due to maintenance problems.
Darlene Costello, Acting Under Secretary for Procurement, Technology and Logistics, explained that a total of 41 aircraft could not be used for missions, which equates to approximately 15% of the total inventory the magazine collects. Air Force Magazine.
The data was confirmed by the F-35 program executive, Lieutenant General Eric Vick, who explained that some of these planes are waiting for different parts or need improved power units for the F135 engine, a component that increases thrust. and aircraft performance. In this regard, Costello reports that 56 of these units are currently being repaired at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
Fick explained that some of the malfunctions are related to a coating on the surface of the turbine blades, which causes them to overheat and cause the blades to crack. This caused the engines to need servicing ahead of schedule, causing them to be out of service prematurely.
“It is likely that we will need more power and more thermal management capacity for our propulsion system, and I think there is a need to look at options from that perspective,” said the Lt. Col.
The F-35 Program Office is currently working to shorten repair times at Tinker, perform repairs at other facilities, and keep engines on board aircraft for longer. Fick acknowledges that “the costs [de arreglo] Engine undergoing maintenance is challenging,” but at the same time highlights that delivery of the F-35 has not been delayed due to this component.
A spokesperson for military engine company Pratt & Whitney (a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies), citing the portal ArmyHe said significant progress has been made in recent months in reducing the amount of time it takes to fix its engines and the company is on track to produce twice the number of power units it built in the whole of 2020. In this context, Flick commented: The supply of these components will cover demand by 2024, and the aircraft backlog that needs attention will be eliminated by 2029.