Minor cracks found in part of F-35 B-model fighter plane
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two minor cracks were found in a bulkhead of a Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 B-model during durability testing, but they are not expected to affect flight operations of the planes, a Lockheed spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The cracks were discovered during a second round of durability testing and occurred after about 9,400 hours, which equates to more than 17 years of operational flying, said spokeswoman Laura Siebert. The planes are designed to last for about 8,000 hours.
"Because of the high hours accumulated on this test article, this discovery does not affect current F-35B flying operations," she said. The cracks are also not expected to affect the U.S. Marine Corps' plans to start operational use of the planes from mid-2015.
Lockheed said the issue could be corrected with a design change that would add less than 2 pounds to the weight of the plane.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa)
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