Controversial £5billion fighter jet which took 15 years to build dogged by problems every week, says engineer

(From the Daily Fail – thanks, but don’t take as read)

Joint Strike Fighter has already cost £5billion and taken 15 years to build
It has suffered a series of setbacks including a fire which grounded fleet
It was also beaten in a combat exercise by a jet designed 40 years ago
Senior engineers have now revealed yet more faults with the aircraft 

The controversial Joint Strike Fighter stealth jet is being dogged by new technical problems every week, the most senior British engineer working on the aircraft has revealed.

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has already cost £5 billion and taken 15 years to develop. 

It has suffered a series of setbacks including a freak fire which grounded the fleet and the admission earlier this year that it was beaten in a combat exercise by a jet designed 40 years ago.

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Struck: The Joint Strike Fighter has already cost £5billion and taken 15 years to develop 

Now, Lieutenant Commander Beth Kitchen, the senior UK engineering officer on the test team, has written in a Royal Navy journal: ‘Squadron technicians experience new technical faults for the first time weekly.

‘Most are as predicted by the [aircraft’s] designers; however technical faults still occur during flight where components did not perform as expected.

Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II, was selected by the Government in 2001 to replace the UK’s fleet of Harrier aircraft.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said last night: ‘The Lightning II remains on track to operate from RAF Marham [in Norfolk] in 2018 and from our carriers in 2020.’

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