The $400,000 helmet for the F-35B has a major problem: The night-vision camera does not work when there is no moon, according to video of a test flight aboard the amphibious assault ship America in November.
The problem will take months to fix, said F-35 Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova. Potential solutions are expected to be tested in the fall, he said. Military.com first reported on Wednesday about the defect.
When an F-35B test pilot landed on the America during a moonless night in November, he was unable to see the deck, so he had to guess where he was above the ship, F-35B, Marine Lt. Col. Tom Fields, F-35 government flight test director, said in the video.
After he had successfully landed, the pilot said something along the lines of, “Control, you’re going to have to give me a compelling reason to do that again,” Fields recalled.
Prime contractor Lockheed Martin issued a statement on Friday saying the company is aware of the issue and working to test potential solutions.
“This is why we have a flight test program – to characterize performance as well as identify anomalies so that we can work solutions and ensure the performance of the aircraft meets warfighter requirements,” the company said in the statement.