The head of the F-35 Joint Program workplace (JPO) says the outer wings of thirty-two carrier-based C-models have to be compelled to get replaced to hold the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder, the aircraft’s primary dogfighting weapon.
The U.S. Navy variant practiced associate degree covert quantity of oscillation or turbulence throughout flight trials with the AIM-9X in December 2015, and Lt. Gen. St. Christopher Bogdan says craft already delivered have to be compelled to be retrofitted with strong wings.
“It was discovered the outer, folding portion of the wing has the inadequate structural strength to support the hundreds iatrogenic by pylons with AIM-9X missiles throughout maneuvers that cause buffet,” Bogdan says in written testimony to Congress on Gregorian calendar month. 16.
Engineers have already made associate degree increased outer wing style, that is currently undergoing flight testing. the difficulty has compact the timeline for fielding AIM-9X, that is being unrolled for the Navy in Block 3F. “Once the new style is verified to supply the need strength, the fix is going to be enforced in production and retrofitted to existing craft by swapping existing outer wings with the redesigned ones,” Bogdan writes.
The AIM-9X is that the heat-seeking crony to the Raytheon AIM-120C advanced medium-range missile. Without it, the F-35 would be incapable of high off-boresight shots at shut vary. owing to a seven-year schedule delay, the fifth-generation fighter can carry air superiority missiles that area unit one generation behind its heritage counterparts, that area unit already carrying the most recent AIM-9X Block II and AIM-120D.
Various issues discovered throughout organic process testing of AIM-9X have already delayed the weapon’s expected fleet-wide rollout by one month, shifting from October to Gregorian calendar month 2017. The missile should be delivered in time to support initial operational take a look at analysis and complete the 17-year F-35 system development and demonstration section by could 2018. The Navy, particularly, should be cleared to fly and shoot the AIM-9X to declare operational standing with its initial squadron of F-35C Block 3F craft in 2018.
Another task for the F-35 team is adding a moving target capability, as according by Aviation Week on Gregorian calendar month. 15. Their area unit presently no plans to put in weapons capable of touch moving and maneuvering targets, like associate degree insurgent driving away during a pickup. These forms of weapons were designed for the wars in Iraq and the Islamic State of Afghanistan and may hit targets traveling at speeds of up to at seventy mph. they’re currently creating their mark within the air campaign against the monotheism State cluster. as a result of the F-35’s optical device designator cannot lead the target, its basic inventory of late-1990s target-hunting bombs can let down if that focus on moves briskly.
The JPO is currently operating with the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps to integrate Raytheon’s GBU-49 ton five increased Paveway II, that mechanically corrects for target speed and direction moreover as wind conditions. The Marines have expressed a preference for the Raytheon GBU-53B little Diameter Bomb Increment II, however that’s not slated for full integration and flight clearance till Block four.2, around business 2022 or later. it’s not clear if GBU-49 are going to be mechanically selected for F-35 or competed against the newest Boeing optical device Joint Direct Attack Munition and Lockheed twin Mode and. regardless of the call, it cannot delay F-35 Block 3F.