Work: ‘Confident’ F-35 Ejection Issue Will Be Resolved

Defense News // April 15, 2016

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work is “confident” concerns about the safety of ejections for lightweight pilots from the F-35 joint strike fighter will be resolved, he said Thursday.

The issue, first reported by Defense News in October, revolves around concerns that lightweight pilots could be severely injured or killed during a low-speed ejection from the F-35, leading to a restriction on pilots under 136 pounds from flying the fifth-generation jet.

The Pentagon has pledged to have a solution, revolving around a lighter helmet, with officials saying they hope to have the issue resolved by November.

“That’s going to be fixed,” Work said when asked about the issue. “I haven’t been told anything [otherwise] – I’m confident. Yup, it will be fixed.”

Work expressed his belief during a visit here to learn more about the F-35B variant, accompanied by UK defense procurement head Philip Dunne. While there, the two met with pilots and maintainers from both nations and were briefed on the capabilities of the fighter.

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