Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stand Away From The JSF, Please (Update)

Stand Away From The JSF, Please (Update): "Update: Program officials are preparing for a long stand-down, measured in weeks. We should know more next week. Foreign object damage hasn't been ruled out, in which case the program will breathe a large sigh of relief and move on. But if it's not FOD....

And meanwhile, the F-22 is entering month 4 of its grounding.

The last two JSF groundings (in October and March) were short, but the action taken in response to an incident at Edwards AFB on Tuesday morning has been more severe: not only are flight operations suspended, but there are no ground operations, such as engine runs or power-on tests.

Details are scant: A statement from the JSF program office reads that "aircraft AF-4's Integrated Power Package (IPP) experienced a failure ... The engine was immediately shut down and the jet was secured. No injuries to the pilot or ground crew occurred."

The halt in operations 'is the prudent action to take at this time until the F-35 engineering, technical and system safety teams fully understand the cause of the incident. Once the facts are understood, a determination will be made when to lift the suspension.'

As discussed earlier on Ares, the Honeywell IPP (this is not Honeywell's year at all) is a unique system that combines the normal functions of a back-up generator, APU/starter, emergency power unit and the air cycle machine (ACM) that runs the environmental control system.

blog post photo
Since the incident took place in a ground engine run, the IPP was probably operating either as the starter or in ECS mode.

F-35 flight testing has been running ahead of the revised schedule that was adopted as part of the restructuring and stretch-out announced in January. At the Paris air show, deputy program office director Maj Gen CD Moore said that the flight-test success would provide the program with margin, but not allow the schedule to be brought forward.

Click here to read our version of this story: JSF Force Grounded.

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