Monday, April 15, 2013

F-35: Tailhook assembly re-design ready for testing

As we're reported here, the tailhook problem appears to have been solved and the entire tailhook assembly is being readied for testing.  The latest news:
“Our original design was not performing as expected,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president for the F35 Lightning II program. Martin said the “toe” of the tailhook, the part that grabs the wire, had been re-designed along with the “hold down damper” gear that forces the tailhook down on the deck.

“It’s now in line with what the legacy aircraft uses,” Martin said of the new F-35 tailhook. She said the new assembly will be tested this summer at the Navy’s Lakehurst, N.J., facility and carrier tests were expected later this year.

 [Head of the Naval Air Systems Command,Vice Adm. David]Dunaway said he believed Lockheed Martin had found the right tailhook fix before he back pedaled and said: “I will be a trust but verify person.” Rear Adm. Randollph Mahr, the deputy Program Executive Officer for the F-35, said “I have high confidence that that tailhook will be catching wires at Lakehurst.” 
The new tailhook design has been in testing for a while.  The other part of the system that was causing problems was the "hold down damper".  They were getting a bounce and a skip when the hook hit causing it to miss wires.  With the redesign of the hook complete as well as the redesigned hold down damper, the entire assembly will now go through testing at Lakehurst.

Another teething problem apparently solved, assuming the testing goes well and, continuing with that assumption, air to ship integration isn't that far off at all.


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