U.S. Navy maintains grounding order for F-35 fighter jets

Comments (22)
OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:

Sounds to me like a fractured turbine disk, likely in the 1st or 2nd stage where temperatures are hottest. Could also be a domino effect of turbine blade failures.

After a quick search for the F135 engine, it looks like Pratt has known about issues with these engines running too hot and reducing turbine life. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_F135)

-Aerospace engineer who performs research on 1st stage turbine components

Jul 12, 2014 2:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
REnninga wrote:

“…It would be a huge embarrassment to the United States if the jets are unable to appear at either air show, and could jeopardize export prospects for the new radar-evading plane just as two initial partners on the program – Canada and Denmark – are weighing fresh orders.”

Yes, and I suspect it would also be a huge embarrassment to the United States if one of these $127 Million to $157 Million single-engine aircraft caught fire and had its engine come apart on the ground, or had similar catastrophic engine failure while in an aerial performance at these airshows, and crashed.

That might jeopardize future sales too, right?

Good grief. I remember a time in America when grownups ran the US Government and its military. I sure miss those times.

Jul 12, 2014 2:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bernie777 wrote:

Really, 1.4 Trillion dollars for one airplane program. 1.4 Trillion dollars would pay for a four year college education for every child in the US, FOREVER!

Jul 12, 2014 2:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:


Actually, if you assume $20k per year, $1.4 trillion would fund just 23.6% of the current (2014) US child population.


Jul 12, 2014 2:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:


Though, here’s a thought:

In 2013-2014, 3.3 million people are expected to graduate from high school. Let’s assume this number stays pretty much constant, for simplicity.

So, in 4 years, if all of these students attended 4-year universities, we’d need ($20k*3.3M*4) = $264 billion per year.

Now, if the U.S government established a “trust fund” of sorts with a 5% yield per year, that would mean the total value of the fund would need to be $5.28 trillion.

Now, not all graduates would go to college, and not all who went to college would finish, which would tend to reduce the overall burden. However, I don’t see it being reduced to a level that is achievable unless restrictions are put in place (how much per year you get, who can get it, etc.).

Interesting idea, though.

Jul 12, 2014 3:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
REnninga wrote:

Hi OSU and Bernie,

OSU, using your cited average tuition cost per year amount ($20K), that’s still a four-year college education for 17.5 Million American young people, if my math is correct.
And I think that was Bernie’s philosophical point (rather than being literal). At least that’s how I took his point:
I.e., ‘It’s a butt load of money, and couldn’t we do better things for our American society with that kind of expenditure?’ ;-D

I think it worth considering that this F-35A,B,C Joint Strike Fighter program is already $163 Billion over budget. With the country presently $17.6 Trillion in debt – and increasing at more than $300,000 per minute – this and many other programs are effectively being added to the national credit card.

If no major change is made in our National debt structure, it could be credibly argued that future generations of Americans will still be paying the debt service (interest) on the cost of this military aircraft program long after these jet fighters are already retired, out of service and mothballed in the Arizona desert.

I have a difficult time intellectually justifying such extravagant expenditures if we aren’t also willing to raise the tax revenues to pay for them. Just my tuppence.

US National Debt Clock – Real Time:

Jul 12, 2014 4:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Neurochuck wrote:

“no discernible event that represents a root cause.”
That is maybe the wrong answer if one has a background as a software engineer.
New real-time, multi-threaded, many-input software is notoriously difficult to design, implement and test to 100% confidence.
So the “engine management” software may have got into a “bad state” due to some difficult to detect and replicate sequence of events and states.
ie the software may crash before the rest of the plane.
Hope this helps ;-)

Jul 12, 2014 5:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
NikkiSantoro wrote:

Ha, ha, reduced IR signature is leading to too much heat. As well as the internal weapons bays. And consequently why they are throw their hands in the air in despair. No way to fix that.

Jul 12, 2014 7:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bernie777 wrote:

Give me the 1.5 TRILLION dollars they are spending on this one plane and I will give all able US kids a four year college education, FOREVER!

Jul 12, 2014 9:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Marla wrote:

And we needed these new jets why? We already outspend and outgun the next 6 well funded/armed nations combined. We have money for more toys for the military, but we can’t provide care for our citizens or repair our crumbling infrastructure? To quote Bender “Yup we’re boned!”

Jul 12, 2014 11:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:

Atleast the P38 Lightning prototype crash, which curtailed that fighter, was a lesson learned. The military should know by now that new weapon system faults are not to be corrected in the field, but rather pre-production….Whoopsie….

Jul 12, 2014 1:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
homerp wrote:

All there is left to do is cover the nose cone in lipstick and glue a wiggly tail on the back. The most expensive pig in the history of the world.

Jul 12, 2014 4:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CSParty wrote:

OSU_Aero_Eng — HPT isolated incident.

Jul 12, 2014 6:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CSParty wrote:

The day we lose air supremacy because our government decided not to upgrade our dated aircraft is the day the US downgrades to 3rd world. We have had 3 major wars with A-10′s, F-16′s, F-15′s and F-18′s and have accumulated hours faster than expected. Do we just maintain a low capability and allow other countries who do not like us to surpass our technology? Here’s the kicker, the F-35 will be around for the next 40 years and that program has been priced out to the 55 year point. It is still cheaper to buy it than it is to upgrade all the aircraft it will replace. Nuff said.

Jul 12, 2014 6:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:


I wouldn’t say 3rd world, but I do think it’s important that the US maintain air superiority, particularly with the rise in military technology that’s been coming from China recently. The issue is that in aviation, all this stuff has to be planned out decades in advance. That means you’re guessing as to what technologies will be available, and this means high costs, not only from the development of these technologies, but subsequent changes that need to be made if the technological projections were too aggressive.

That being said, 6th generation fighter aircraft are already in the works as a replacement for the F-22, scheduled to roll out around 2030. There’s also an SR-71 replacement being developed for around the same deployment time. We’ve also got the X-47B program which will allow future unmanned aircraft to be based on aircraft carriers, an important strategical advantage.

So, for now, at least, it seems as though the US is fairly well-positioned.

Jul 12, 2014 7:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bumsteer wrote:


Good points. With all the possible technological advances in aircraft design; flexibility is the key to maintain any assemblance of preparedness.

…..I guess “not” nuff said.

Jul 12, 2014 7:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:


Now, if we could just keep all these countries (particularly China) from stealing the technologies as they are developed (thus reducing the cost on their end by avoiding technological challenges that come up in development), we’d be set. This is something people at the FBI and the Pentagon have been yelling at Congress to address for years now, to no avail. Apparently they’re more concerned about public opinion regarding government monitoring than protection of intellectual property.

There’s an interesting theory that the repressive nature of the Chinese government has lead to a stagnation in their ability to self-develop technology, as researchers do not have the freedom or resources available to them that they might have in other countries. The thought is that this leads to theft of intellectual property as the only means of keeping up.

You can sort of see this if you go to technological conferences. In fact, a few weeks ago I was in Germany for a conference related to research on jet engines. You got a sense from the questions being asked from Chinese university students that they were more interested in how to build the experimental rigs than what the research actually showed. In essence, they were looking for handouts to jump-start their research without going through the challenges of actually designing an experimental facility. There were several people in my group at the conference who noticed this.

Jul 12, 2014 8:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
umkomazi wrote:

I want to know why we in the UK are buying this heap of junk – when we had the Harrier jump jet??

That smashed the Argentines in the Falklands..and didn’t burst into flame before getting off the ground..

Our esteemed ‘government was probably bullied & bribed by Obama….

Jul 13, 2014 1:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:


That would be because the Harrier is an outdated aircraft with capabilities that make it almost useless in a modern conflict.

The F-35 flies almost twice as fast (1,200 mph vs 735 mph), has twice the combat radius (600 nmi vs 300 nmi), better avionics, has stealth capability…need I go on?

Your argument is almost as if someone were to say we should be buying more muskets because they won the revolutionary war.

Jul 13, 2014 2:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mxxr wrote:

note that China copy of F35 has two engines. may perform better than original. perhaps West should buy China planes and save money and avoid poor performance. have read US military planes use China parts. surprise, surprise!

Jul 13, 2014 5:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
umkomazi wrote:

OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:


That would be because the Harrier is an outdated aircraft with capabilities that make it almost useless in a modern conflict.

The F-35 flies almost twice as fast (1,200 mph vs 735 mph), has twice the combat radius (600 nmi vs 300 nmi), better avionics, has stealth capability…need I go on?

Your argument is almost as if someone were to say we should be buying more muskets because they won the revolutionary war.

yep..doesn’t fly very fast when burning on the ground ……stealth capability…can see the flames from the burning engine on infrared..range..about 3ft before it burns on the runway..nothing wrong with approaching a target slowly….”Slowly, slowly catchee monekee as the saying goes”

It’s taken the US how many decades to develop this heap?

Besides all the TRILLIONS of $$ your government has wasted on wars and you get creamed by a bunch of religious peasants…eg Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam….etc etc….plus a quick flick through any history book & telephone call to the USSR & UK would have saved 1000s of lives…

You still haven’t said why the UK should buy the piece of junk…or is it so we get dragged into more of Obama’s dirty wars in the Middle East trying to fight an idea….???

Jul 13, 2014 6:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OSU_Aero_Eng wrote:


Are you under the impression that new aircraft can be developed in a couple years or something? Do you even realize how complex these machines are? The gas turbine engine alone is an unbelievably complicated piece of technology. I would know. I work with them every day.

The truth is, it takes decades to design a new aircraft and work out the kinks. It’s even worse for modern aircraft, which have not only more complicated systems, but an increased number of more complicated systems.

The F-22 began its design work in 1986, and took 11 years before its first flight. The F-35 began design in 1996, and took 10 years for it’s first flight. Heck, the original Harrier took 10 years between the initial design phase and it’s first flight. And guess what…three of the initial six prototypes crashed.

I don’t know why you bring Obama, Iraq, and Afghanistan into this. It’s not relevant at all, mainly because those were ground wars. Including this tidbit makes me think you just have some sort of bias against the US that’s influencing your opinion on completely unrelated matters.

Jul 13, 2014 3:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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