Integrated Power Package Failed On A Test Aircraft Tuesday
Flight testing has been suspended for the F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter for a third time after an Integrated Power Package (IPP)
failed on aircraft AF-4 during a ground maintenance test run.
The failure occurred at about 0830 local time at Edwards AFB in
California, according to a statement from the F-35 Program Office.
"Following standard operating procedures, the engine was
immediately shut down and the jet was secured. No injuries to the
pilot or ground crew occurred. The F-35’s IPP is a
turbo-machine that provides power to start the engine and generates
cooling for the aircraft.
"The government and contractor engineering teams are reviewing the
data from the incident to determine the root cause of the failure.
Implementing a precautionary suspension of operations is the
prudent action to take at this time until the F-35 engineering,
technical and system safety teams fully understand the cause of the
incident. Once the facts are understood, a determination will be
made when to lift the suspension and begin ground and flight
operations of the 20 F-35s currently in flying status. These
aircraft are part of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD)
and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) fleet.
"Determinations of root cause and potential mitigating actions have
the highest priority of the F-35 Team. Impact to SDD execution and
production operations is being assessed. The program has built
schedule margin into the test schedule to accommodate these kinds
of incidents that occur in a development effort. Periodic updates
concerning this situation will be released as warranted.
Multiple media sources including Defensetech and the
Navy Times report that this is the third time in a year
that flight testing has been suspended due to a system failure on
the fifth-generation fighter. The airplane joins the F-22 Raptor,
which is also not flying due to an unresolved issue with its oxygen