In Aviation Week:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has put the U.S. Marine Corps’ troubled F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical landing (Stovl) Joint Strike Fighter on “probation,” while endorsing the U.S. Air Force’s long-coveted new bomber program.
The F-35A and F-35C models emerged unscathed from Gates’ review. However, the F-35B “is experiencing significant testing problems,” Gates said at the Pentagon Jan. 6.
Implying that problems are more serious than previously reported, he adds that “these issues may lead to a redesign of the aircraft’s structure and propulsion — changes that could add yet more weight and more cost to an aircraft that has little capacity to absorb more of either.”
Well, I thought the USAF 2018 strike bomber program would be one of the first casualties. But I doubt anyone is terribly surprised about the F-35B due to the problems its been having.