Lockheed F-35 Fighter Has ‘Design Flaw’ in Wing Part, Pentagon Tester Says
It is how the definition of "mistake-jets" works. That is, where they are building lots of aircraft that will later need expensive retro-fits because they didn't have enough production knowledge.
Here is a summary of the problem.
A and B models have a wing flaw. The United States Air Force, and most other nations are the potential customer for the A. The UK was the customer for the B but switched to the U.S. Navy C. The B is the U.S. Marine variant. Italy is considering a mix of A and B models. Great that Defence Minister Smith tells us Australia is trying to get the less-risky A model.
The design flaw is down-played by officials as being non-catastrophic. Although I wonder if it is the kind of flaw you want when in the final stages of a vertical landing with the B model. The problem limits affected aircraft to 1000 flight hours.
"Aircraft produced with the original root rib “must be inspected periodically” and have required repair before approximately 1,000 flight hours."
A retro-fit will have to be performed on completed aircraft and those in the production line. Total; 60.
This flaw will add to overall program cost and delay. I will leave you with this confidence builder from the article. “Little durability testing has actually been completed; therefore, more discovery is possible.”