The Navy will most likely begin testing fixes for the F-35C nose gear and the helmet-mounted display on a ship this summer or fall, according to a Lockheed Martin executive.
Jeff Babione, F-35 program general manager for Lockheed Martin, said March 21 during the company's annual media day in Arlington, VA, the F-35C carrier variant just recently wrapped up nose gear testing at Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, NJ.
One of the fixes was changing the way the pilot straps in. During testing the team had to make sure the pilot's head and arms were in the proper position, he said.
“In addition, we changed the pullback fixture. Think about having just a little bit less load holding the airplane when it launches off the catapult,” Babione said.
This reduces the amount of energy that comes out during the airplane's oscillations, he added.
Babione anticipates the Navy will test these fixes aboard an aircraft carrier in the fall.
Further, the program is making progress with the helmet-mounted display and a software fix for the display's symbology should be released in one of the next software drops.
The fix “enables the pilot to control what symbols are there, their density and brightness of those,” he said.
The Navy has not set a date on testing the helmet at sea but Babione estimates late summer or early fall.
Inside the Navy first reported the Pentagon established a "red team" last September to investigate issues with the F-35C's nose gear and the team recommended that if initial steps to fix the problem fail, the nose gear should be redesigned.