New jet fighters can't land on carriers

Jan. 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- British Royal Navy officials said the inability of new Joint Strike Fighter jets to land on aircraft carriers could scrap the $7.6 billion fighter program.

The "F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review," a document leaked from the U.S. Pentagon, indicates the jets failed to land on aircraft carriers in eight simulations because the "arrestor" hook, which stops the jet during landings, is too close to the wheels, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

Navy sources said the flaw could lead to the entire fighter program being scrapped, despite the billions of dollars spent by Britain, the United States and other "partner nations."

A Ministry of Defense spokesman declined to comment on the leaked report, but said Defense Secretary Philip Hammond met with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to "discuss a number of issues including the Joint Strike Fighter" last month.

Jim Murphy, the Labor Party's shadow defense secretary, called for details details of the report to be made public.

"An island nation like ours should be able to operate airplanes from an aircraft carrier," he said. "The government must come clean on the full impact of the defense review. It's essential we know how long we will be without carrier strike capability."

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