Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Defence written question – answered on 21st July 2014.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fires have occurred onboard each variant of Joint Strike Fighter aircraft; and what the cause was of each fire.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

All aircraft variants of F-35 are currently within the Development Test phase of the overall programme. The aim of the Development Test phase is to reveal issues through testing so that solutions can be developed in order to deliver a capable aircraft to the armed forces.

There have been no fires on board either the F-35B (short take off and vertical landing variant) or the F-35C (carrier variant).

There have been four fires on-board the F-35A (conventional take off and landing variant) that the UK are aware of:

The first fire was within the integrated power pack (IPP) and was due to an internal valve failure. Ground personnel extinguished the fire which resulted in minor aircraft damage. This incident lead to a minor design change.

The second fire was as a result of a hydraulic fluid leak onto a brake assembly following landing. Ground personnel extinguished the fire which resulted in minor aircraft damage.

The third fire was due to a hot brake condition after landing which was extinguished by ground personnel and resulted in a replacement of the wheel/tyre assembly.

Both brake fires remain under investigation with no immediate design change being considered as necessary.

The most recent fire occurred on 23 June 2014 at Eglin air force base during a takeoff roll. The root cause of the incident is currently being investigated.

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