London --- Changes are being made to the integrated power package (IPP) on the Marine's F-35 that should limit heat damage to carrier decks and other surfaces, Lt. Gen. George Trautman, deputy commandant for aviation, told DoD Buzz in an exclusive interview one day before the start of the 2010 Farnborough Air Show.
"We have made the decision to adjust the IPP," he said Sunday, reshaping the nozzle so that the enormous thrust comes out in an oval shape instead of the more highly focused circle now used. The oval "will resolve that problem for almost all surfaces," he said.
Joint Program Office documents detailed concerns that the STOVL version of the F-35 was too hot and too noisy for carriers and too hot even for some asphalt surfaces.
An operational assessment of the JSF said that heat may force “severe F-35 operating restrictions and or costly facility upgrades, repairs or both.” The OT-IID report says “thermal management” will “increase the number of sorties required to prepare an operational unit for deployment during summer months” at most American bases. It rated basing as red: “unlikely to meet criteria — significant shortfall.”
Trautman acknowledged the JPO concerns about heat and noise but said neither was a game changer nor a serious threat to the program. Heat is "not a show stopper," the general said, noting the Harrier generates about 1,470 degrees versus 1,500 degrees for the F-35.
On the noise front, Trautman said the F-035 actually is a bit quieter for those standing near the airplane and he said the aircraft has been subject to more noise testing than any previous aircraft. It is, he said, a "non-factor" for the program, though noise is always a management issue for ground and carrier crews.