Danger Room: Pentagon Downgrades Specs for Its Premiere Stealth Jet — Again

11.02.13

Categorie: Air, David Axe, Stealth, Wired |
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Air Force F-35s fly in formation over Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. <em>Photo: Air Force</em>

Air Force F-35s fly in formation over Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Photo: Air Force

by DAVID AXE

America’s latest stealth fighter just got heavier, slower and more sluggish.

For the second time in a year, the Pentagon has eased the performance requirements of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The reduced specs — including a slower acceleration and turning rate — lower the bar for the troubled, trillion-dollar JSF program, allowing it to proceed towards full-rate production despite ongoing problems with the plane’s complex design. Under the old specs, the stealth fighter, due to enter service in 2018 or 2019, probably wouldn’t pass its Pentagon-mandated final exams.

At the same time, newly-identified safety problems could force F-35-smith Lockheed Martin to add fire-suppression gear that will only increase the plane’s weight and further decrease its maneuverability. The JSF is meant to be a jack of all trades, equally capable of dropping bombs and fighting other aircraft — the latter requiring extreme nimbleness in the air.

Read the rest at Danger Room.

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