Major F-35B Component Cracks In Fatigue Test

Discussion in 'Americas' started by bhramos, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    The aft bulkhead of the F-35B BH-1 fatigue-test specimen has developed cracks after 1,500 hours of durability testing, Ares has learned. This is less than one-tenth of the planned fatigue test program, which is designed to prove an 8,000-hour airframe life with a safety factor of two.

    The bulkhead design was modified in the course of the jet's weight-saving redesign in 2004-05, switching from forged titanium - proven on the F-22 - to a new aluminum forging process developed by Alcoa.

    [​IMG]
    Alcoa

    According to Lockheed Martin,"the cracks were discovered during a special inspection when a test engineer discovered an anomaly." The company says that flight-test aircraft have been inspected and found crack-free and that flight testing has not been affected.

    Engineers are still investigating the failure and it is not yet known whether the cracks reflect a design fault, a test problem (for example, a condition on the rig that does not reproduce design conditions) or a faulty part.

    If the bulkhead design is found to be at fault, it will be a serious setback for the F-35B program, potentially imposing flight restrictions on aircraft already in the pipeline or requiring expensive changes on the assembly line.

    Six F-35Bs are included in the LRIP-2 contract, now in the mate or final assembly stage, and nine in the 17-aircraft LRIP-3 batch - which are intended to support initial Marine Corps training and operations. If a redesign is necessary it could also delay deliveries of LRIP-4 aircraft.

    Bulkheads are a major structural component of the F-35, carrying the major spanwise bending loads on the aircraft. They are produced from forgings weighing thousands of pounds, which are machined into the final shape. They are among the longest lead-time items in the airframe, being built into mid-body sections produced by Northrop Grumman.

    The F-35A and F-35C bulkheads are still made of titanium, as are similar bulkheads on the F-22.

    Correction: Northrop Grumman asks us to point out that the parts in question are built into the wing/centersection assembly made by Lockheed Martin.

    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blog...&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest
     
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  3. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Looks like F-35 and Tejas have something similar eh?

    Both end up getting delayed and developing last minute complications despite being a generation apart.
     
  4. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Basically it has become over fat. it needs to reduce its weight........

    some members view
     
  5. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    We dont know even if the Pak-Fa is stealthy or not, they may have just built an conventional airframe to convince us to spend money on it. The rear of the aircraft looks right of the Su-30 and its all metal.

    This problem with F-35 does not seem to be a big one, they need to go back to their original Titanium based bulk head which i am sure they will do.
     

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