Lightning strikes twice

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II features on the cover of the 29 April Flight International. Our coverline alludes to the fact that in the space of a few days Australia confirmed a commitment to buy the fighter, and it was confirmed that the F-35 will make its overseas air show debuts at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough this July.

Our lead story for the week explains why the airframer is upbeat on prospects for its Joint Strike Fighter despite a Defense Department report that could lead to billions of dollars of support to be lost from the programme, forcing up unit costs for any export customers.

Also in the issue, we turn the spotlight on military engines with features on an upgrade proposal for the General Electric F414 that powers the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and Rolls-Royce’s efforts to adapt an engine for the BAE Systems Taranis unmanned combat air system project.

Operations and safety expert David Learmount looks at the facts, theories and fantasies surrounding the disappearance of MH370 as hope fades of ever finding, or knowing what happened to, the ill-fated airliner.

We have a news focus on Boeing’s attempts to bring 787 production problems under control, and a story on how Airbus plans to increase the seating capacity of its A321, as well as the A320. Plus: outgoing NTSB chief Deborah Hersman defends her controversial record.

 

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