Two Strikes

By Lee Hudson / August 28, 2013 at 8:35 PM

ABOARD THE USS WASP (LHD-1) -- The two F-35B jets undergoing sea trials this month are "in maintenance" today, according to a Navy official.

Reporters were flown to the ship to see one of the two fly, but an issue with a thermal power management system kept it in maintenance longer than anticipated, Navy Capt. Erik Etz, the test director for F-35 naval variants, told reporters during a media day.

Etz said he thought the jet would be ready later today, but after reporters leave the ship. The aircraft is expected to be available for the last day and a half of testing.

The other aircraft, VF-1, is in maintenance to address the compartment cooling fan that cools the engine.

The two F-35B aircraft have been flying twice a day during the test period, called Developmental Test-2, he said.

So far the jets have completed 90 short takeoffs and 92 vertical landings. During DT-1, which was held in October 2011, the jets completed a total of 72 takeoffs and vertical landings, F-35 Lightning II communications director Joe DellaVedova told reporters here.

The two jets are configured differently for testing. VF-1 is using a flight release engine, while VF-5 is equipped with an initial service release engine and carries a pod to account for weapon weight, said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Kelly, a senior official with the F-35 program office and a former test pilot who has flown both the F-35B and F-35C models.