04:21 GMT08 May 2021
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    The F-35B aircraft’s composite design, engine noise, and weapons storage requirements are challenges firefighting and maintenance crews aboard the USS America amphibious assault ship must address in training, the US Naval Institute (USNI) News service reported.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The USS America's deck was strengthened to handle the aircraft's weight by reconstructing support structures from beneath and coating the landing surfaces with heat resistant material.

    The USS America's crew will conduct F-35B testing sometime in October. The F-35B replaces the Marines storied AV8-Harrier short and vertical takeoff jet.

    "Normally the first thing we do if there’s a fire on deck is we put cooling water on the ordnance but if the ordnance is inside the aircraft, how are we supposed to cool the ordnance?" US Navy Lt. Commander Matthew Miller told USNI on Monday. "This is a technical problem that we haven’t totally gotten the answer for yet, we’re hoping they’re going to come up with something [during training]."

    The F35B short-takeoff and vertical landing aircraft poses other challenges, the commander noted, including how to secure its composite airframe on a pitching and rolling warship along with the need to store weapons in internal bays to maintain stealth, issues that need to be ironed out during crew training.

    "Being that it’s more composite than ever, the techniques you use on how to chain it down, how tight they are and everything else become more and more important so that we don’t mess up a $100-million jet,” Miller said.

    The Navy and Marine Corps are trying to refine hearing protection schemes for flight deck personnel to handle the larger, louder F-35 jet engines, Miller noted.


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