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Now That’s a Tailhook Scandal

January 20th, 2012 - 8:50 am

But where will it land?

The Navy’s C-variant of the F-35 Lightning II might have one teensy little design flaw:

The Royal Navy’s multi-billion pound fighter plane programme is under threat amid claims that its new all-purpose jets cannot land on aircraft carriers, it has emerged.

Leaked Pentagon documents claim a design flaw in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has caused eight simulated landings to fail.

The “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review” claimed the flaw meant that the “arrestor” hook, used to stop the plane during landing, was too close to the plane’s wheels.

Time was, the F-35 was nicknamed the “Joint Strike Fighter,” because it would be the new all-purpose fighter for the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marines. Being unable to make carrier landings would make it slightly less Joint.

Of course, the Navy is looking at a RIF of a carrier task force or two, going from 11 flattops to ten or maybe just nine. But it won’t matter if they don’t have planes to put on them.

My own thinking? Rethink the carrier. More drones, smaller crews, shorter decks — and pump some of the savings into avoiding another RIF.

The 1,000-foot carrier might have its best days behind it. They also provide great big targets — which we can’t afford to lose even one of. More numerous, smaller, cheaper ships with fewer officers and men make losses bearable. And budgets, too.

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