Lightning watch – ‘no big delay’ to STOVL F-35B

Despite its engine glitch, Lockheed thinks the F-35B will fly before the end on June, maybe a month later than originally hoped for, but still within its “mid-2008″ window for the first flight of the STOVL JSF. It will take Pratt & Whitney about a month to deliver a replacement flight-test F135 engine, and it should arrive in March, allowing Lockheed to get on with hover pit testing.

The hiccup happened when the original engine for aircraft BF-1 failed a proof test designed to reveal if it was susceptible to high-cycle fatigue of the third-stage turbine blades (it was!). P&W is proof testing the replacement engine, and probably has its fingers very tightly crossed. So far three F135s have been proof-tested: two CTOLs passed and one STOVL failed.

Meanwhile, thanks to Steve Trimble on The DEW Line for finding this video of the STOVL F135′s three-bearing swivelling nozzle being tested in aircraft BF-1. I am still fascinated to watch this nozzle working…

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