Two Months At Most

Lockheed Martin officials are saying that the recent test failure of the F135 engine for the second test F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, outlined during a House hearing last week, should not delay the test program for long. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Lockheed VP Dan Crowley says engine-maker Pratt & Whitney and service program managers think the delay in flying the first F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing version will be only two months at worst. He told the newspaper, Lockheed and P&W engineers are “confident they have isolated” the problem that caused a turbine blade to crack. The issue arose during last week’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on the 2009 defense budget because the Pentagon, once again, has defied Congressional wishes and failed to include funding for the alternate engine.