It has been reported that the carrier and STOVL F-35s could suffer from issues when flying at supersonic speeds. The issues are reportedly happening when the aircraft is flying at extremely high altitudes and maintaining supersonic speeds.
According to the US Defense Department they have no intention of fixing the problem at the current time even though they have classified the issue as a category 1 deficiency, the most serious type of deficiency that could occur.
The issues relate to the airframe, stealth coating and a large number of antennas on the rear of the aircraft, with issues being reported when the aircraft maintains speeds of Mach 1.3 for the B model and Mach 1.4 for the C mode.
Vice Admiral Mat Winter, the leader of the F-35 program at the Pentagon spoke to Defense News and stated that although a spray was being applied that will not totally fix the problem and they will have to accept the additional risk of damage.
“How often do we expect something like that to occur? It’s very, very small.” he said and when asked by the Sun, the UK’s Ministry of Defence stated, “Our jets have always met the strict safety requirements set by both US and UK military safety authorities.”
Nick Ashwell-Rice has worked in aviation and defence journalism since 2014 whilst also maintaining a career outside of the industry. He has been Editor-in-Chief at Talking Aero since its inception