The Federation of American Scientists posted a copy of the latest selected acquisition report on the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, a 53-page gold mine of cost and performance data. Data on pages 10 and 12 are the basis for our breaking news article:
A new internal report predicts the Lockheed Martin F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant is falling short on a key performance requirement, forcing programme officials to consider a range of aircraft modifications to fix the problem. Combat radius, the maximum distance of an out-bound leg with a full load of weapons and fuel, has dropped to 1,080.4km (584nm) for the F-35A, according to a leaked copy of the 2010 F-35 selection acquisition report (SAR).
Here is a Microsoft Excel chart showing how each variant is performing on combat radius.Adding more fuel capacity is one of the options the program is considering to make-up the combat radius shortfall on the F-35A. This chart from a 2010 briefing by Lockheed Martin provides a general idea of the layout of the F-35′s fuel tanks. The area in blue is fuel storage.