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Pentagon puts F-35 on supersonic short-leash

You would think that Lockheed Martin would have figured this out at the beginning, but it appears the US$78-million F-35 fighter jet can literally burn its tail in supersonic mode.

So much money has been spent fixing other issues — critics call it a US$1.5 trillion disaster — that officials say it’s not worth fixing, and will instead be addressed by changing the operating parameters, the F-35 Joint Program Office told Defense News in a statement.

The deficiency, first reported by Defense News in 2019, means that at high altitudes, the US Navy’s and Marine Corps’ versions of the F-35 jet can only fly at supersonic speeds for short bursts of time before there is a risk of structural damage.

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