F-35B recommences trials
F-35B flight clearance was restored February 12, rescinding a cautionary suspension issued January 18 after a fueldraulic hose failure. Government and industry engineering teams conducted a root cause investigation and determined the hose was improperly crimped. All affected hoses have been inspected, and those out of tolerances will be replaced. The hose enables actuator movement for the F-35B Lightning II Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) vectoring exhaust system. The F-35B fleet of 25 aircraft have been cleared for return to flight upon re-installation of compliant hoses by air worthiness authorities at Naval Air Systems Command and the F-35 Program Office. Flight operations for F-35A or F-35C model aircraft were unaffected by the suspension.
The F-35B STOVL variant of the Lightning II will be operated by the Fleet Air Arm, the Italian Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. The F-35B is capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings to enable air power projection from amphibious ships, ski-jump aircraft carriers and expeditionary airfields.