Crack in F-35C Found During Testing

Inspectors testing the durability of the Navy’s F-35C have found a small crack in one of the aircraft’s 13 wing spars, the joint program office said. The crack was found after tests simulating more than 20 years of operational flying, and does not affect current F-35C flying operations or the Navy’s ability to reach initial operational capability, program office spokesman Joe DellaVedova told Air Force Magazine. The finding also does not affect the F-35A or F-35B, which have smaller wings than the C variant, DellaVedova said. Government and industry teams are working on an engineering solution now, he said, and estimate that modifying the aircraft by about half a pound will fix the issue. The Air Force also recently announced that the F-35A is undergoing electromagnetic effects tests at the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards AFB, Calif. Testing ensures the jet’s electronic components don’t interfere with each other, and the successful completion of the test will allow the program office to sign off on verification of military electromagnetic standards, according to a release. The verification is necessary before the initial operational capability testing can begin with Block 3i software, according to the release.