The Joint Strike Fighter has fallen short of its required range set by
the U.S. Defense Department. The Pentagon has acknowledged that the F-35A,
ordered by Israel and the U.S. Air Force, would have a range of 584 nautical
miles, less than its requirement of 590 nautical miles.
"This estimate is based on preliminary data," the Pentagon's Selected
Acquisition Report said.
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The report, dated Dec. 31, 2010, said the F-35's range was decreased by
engine performance. The report cited the increased use of engine bleed air
and other fuel capacity.
Israel has been the only foreign country to order the F-35, development
of which has been significantly delayed. The Israel Air Force, in an August
2010 Letter of Order and Acceptance, agreed to acquire 20 JSF aircraft in a
deal reported at $2.7 billion.
At one point, the Pentagon estimated that JSF would have a range
capacity of 690 nautical miles. But officials said the stealth design of the
F-35 ruled out the deployment of additional fuel tanks.
The report also cited a decrease in the range estimates of the F-35B and
C models, with 469 and 615 nautical miles, respectively. Both aircraft were
said to still maintain a range that slightly exceeded requirements.