Naval F-35, Aircraft Carrier Redesign Required to Fix Pilot Disorientation Issue

  • Our Bureau
  • 01:50 PM, January 6, 2017
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Naval F-35, Aircraft Carrier Redesign Required to Fix Pilot Disorientation Issue
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

A re-design of the naval version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter along with that of the structure of aircraft carriers may be necessary to fix rough takeoffs that hurt and disorient pilots at the critical moment when they're taking off from a carrier.

The expensive and extremely prolonged US fighter project has reached an initial state of military readiness with its air force and Marine variants in 2016, Business Insider reported Wednesday.

However, the navy’s variant has not been improved due to problem with its nose gear during catapult assisted take offs from aircraft carriers, Inside Defense revealed.

According to a Navy report with data dated back to 2014, the issue is related to its rough takeoffs that hurt and disorient pilots at the crucial moment while they're taking off from a carrier.  

The Pentagon's red team pointed out that the several factors in relation to the plane's design have caused the problem. The team recommended several fixes that will take several months as well as years to completely fix. The long term actions to address the problem will not take place until 2019, the report added.

Redesigns to the plane and also to the carriers, is required to completely deal with the problem.

Further, a Pentagon deficiency report in 2015 stated that extreme movements in the cockpit during launch risked pilot health.

One hundred and five pilots completing catapult launches rated their level of pain or discomfort on a scale of one to five. Of the 105, 74 pilots reported "moderate" pain or a 3, 18 pilots reported "severe" pain or a 4, and one pilot reported "severe pain that persists" after launching from an aircraft carrier.

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