Thanks to a compromised ability to render their fuel tanks inert, F-35A Lighting IIs can’t fly within 25 miles of a thunderstorm or other atmospheric electrical activity. Over two years after issuing the flight restriction, the F-35 Joint Program Office was expected to lift it. It hasn’t.
As one might imagine, the prohibition on flight in proximity to thunderstorms has implications for F-35 training, particularly in places like Eglin Air Force Base located in the Florida panhandle where thunderstorms pop up regularly.
Eglin is home to the Air Force’s 58th Fighter Squadron which trains fledgling F-35A pilots, about 60 of them per year. A storm within 25 nautical miles of the base would presumably shut down takeoffs and landings – and training. The same would hold for lightning in proximity to nearby training ranges.
The Program Office’s policy of not commenting would be no impediment