The US Air Force’s F-35A Lightning Demo Team will have around eight shows axed from their 2021 airshow schedule following fleet-wide engine problems, according to Bloomberg.
Engines on the F-35A have been found to be running closer than expected to their design limits, causing cracks and delamination of the engines’ turbine blade coating. This is requiring early engine repairs and replacements, despite new engines already being in short supply, Bloomberg reported.
As a result, the F-35 Demo Team’s activities will be scaled back to avoid aggrevating the situation. It is not yet clear which shows will be dropped, but the Great Tennessee Airshow has already replaced the F-35 Demo Team with the F-16 Demo Team on its website. AirshowStuff reports that other Air Combat Command demonstration teams – namely the F-16C, A-10C and F-22A – will fill in for the F-35 at events it can no longer attend.
The fleet-wide engine problems are not said to be a safety concern, and have not affected the fleet’s operational readiness.