SDSR - Joint Strike Fighter - January 2012.
Royal Navy spends £50bn on new fighter jets... but they can't even land on aircraft carriers - by Anthony Bond - Daily Mail 15th January 2012
A new fighter plane which is to be used by the UK and U.S. military has a design flaw which prevents it from landing on aircraft carriers, it has emerged.
The flaw in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will come as a huge embarrassment to the Royal Navy which is expected to take delivery of 50 of the planes by 2020 at a cost of about £5 billion.
Leaked documents from the Pentagon have revealed that the arrestor hook of the JSF - which is used to stop the plane during landing - is too close to the wheels.
According to The Sunday Times, the Pentagon report reveals that eight simulated landings have failed and it says a 'significant redesign' of the aircraft is needed.
It says the future of the aircraft is at risk.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has refused to comment on the leaked report but a spokesmen told the newspaper that defence secretary Philip Hammond has discussed the issue with the U.S government.
The spokesman insisted that Britain 'remains committed to purchasing the carrier variant of the JSF.'
Arrestor cables are used to rapidly decelerate fighter jets as they land on aircraft carriers.
The cable catches onto a hook at the back of the aircraft which stops the plane from overshooting into the sea.
But it has emerged that on the F-35C - the new carrier variant of the JSF - the arrestor hook is just 7ft from the rear wheels of the jet resulting in the arrestor missing the hook.
On aircraft currently with the U.S navy, this distance is 18ft which means it has plenty of time to catch the cable.
The leaked report - called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review - now warns that there could be major consequences to the aircraft's structure because of the design flaw.
It goes on to warn that the entire F-35C programme may have to be scrapped if a redesign is to costly or results in too many technical issues.
The report also revealed a number of other areas of concern which included that it may be unable to fire British Asraam air-to-air missiles.
According to The Sunday Times, the report adds that there was a high likelihood of future failures which had not yet been identified.
The government was criticised when it scrapped the Royal Navy's Harrier aircraft in 2010.
The shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy, told the newspaper: 'An island nation like ours should be able to operate aeroplanes from an aircraft carrier. It's essential we know how long we will be without carrier strike capability.'