Last week turned out to be very turbulent and eventful for the newest American multi-purpose aircraft F-35 Lightning II. He was baptized in Afghanistan, successfully sat on the deck of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, became cheaper for the American army and suffered the first in its history catastrophe. In recent years, this project has become so "noisy" and scandalous that the news about the fall of the F-35 in South Carolina has become the top one for most of the world's media.
Recall, on Friday, September 28, the F-35, owned by the US Marine Corps, crashed near the base of Beaufort in South Carolina. The leadership of the ILC almost immediately made a statement in which, however, nothing was reported about the causes of the incident. The pilot managed to eject and, it seems, did not receive any special damage. The fighter, which crashed, entered the 501st training squadron and conducted a planned training flight. “The pilot safely ejected from a single-seater and is currently being examined by medical personnel,” the Marine Corps press service said. “There are no injured among the civilian population.”
Incidents with the F-35 have happened before, but none of them has yet led to the loss of a car. By a surprising coincidence, it was on this day that the US military concluded a deal for the supply of the F-35 with Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of Thirty-Five, and secured significant discounts on the aircraft from the company.
Data on the causes of the crash while a little. Her investigation is ongoing. On condition of anonymity, the source of The Washington Post reported that the incident was classified as an accident category A. It is defined as an accident that resulted in the aircraft being completely destroyed (the amount of damage exceeds $ 2 million), and the pilot was killed or completely disabled. The crashed fighter was released in 2013.
Employees of MCAS Beaufort report that the pilot received only minor injuries, he received the necessary assistance, and he has already been sent home.
The F-35 is one of the most sophisticated and most expensive combat aircraft in the world. It belongs to the fifth generation of fighters, its design is widely used technology of low visibility, the machine is equipped with the most advanced electronics. At the same time, he is constantly pursued by various problems: from engines, software, avionics, weapon systems. The F-35 has three modifications: normal (with standard take-off and landing), deck and short-take-off and vertical landing. The aircraft of this particular modification crashed in South Carolina.
Until recently, the F-35 was produced in small batches, but in 2019 the start of large-scale production is planned. Today, the cost of one fighter modification A is 89 million dollars, B - 115 million dollars, C - 108 million dollars.
To date, more than three hundred copies of the "thirty-fifth" have been manufactured, they are in service not only with the US Army, but also with the armed forces of Britain, Japan, Israel, Norway and other countries. However, in general, one gets the impression that the plane is still too "raw".
The problems that are now pursuing the F-35, were laid at the initial stage of the program, when the designers were given the task to create an airplane “fit for everything”. He must combine the qualities of a fighter and a bomber, be able to take off from the ship's deck and land vertically. And while meeting all the criteria of the fifth generation aircraft. We can say that the designers coped with their task, but the machine still clearly needed refinement. The incident in South Carolina is the first catastrophe on 300 aircraft produced, the total flight time of which exceeded 150 thousand hours.